Localization and action of adenosine A2a receptors in regions of the brainstem important in cardiovascular control.

PMID 10658631


In vitro autoradiography and central microinjections of a P1 adenosine A2a receptor antagonist have been employed to investigate a possible role for centrally located adenosine A2a receptors in modulation of the baroreceptor reflex. In vitro autoradiography using [125I]4-(2-[7-amino-2-[2-furyl][3,2,4]triazolol[2,3-a][1,3,5]tr iazin-5-yl-amino]ethyl)phenol ([125I]ZM241385), the high-affinity adenosine A2a receptor antagonist, revealed a heterogeneous distribution of adenosine A2a binding sites within the lower brainstem of the rat. Image analysis showed high levels of binding in rostral regions of both the nucleus tractus solitarius and the ventrolateral medulla. Intermediate levels of binding were observed in the commissural nucleus tractus solitarius and the dorsal vagal motor nucleus, with low levels of binding in caudal regions of the nucleus tractus solitarius and the ventrolateral medulla, and the hypoglossal nucleus. Unilateral microinjections of unlabelled ZM241385 into the nucleus tractus solitarius had no effect on baseline levels of arterial pressure, heart rate and phrenic nerve activity recorded in anaesthetized, artificially ventilated rats. However, microinjections of ZM241385 reduced the bradycardia evoked by stimulation of the ipsilateral aortic nerve. In contrast, ZM241385 had no effect on the depressor response or the reduction in phrenic nerve activity evoked by aortic nerve stimulation. Our results indicate that adenosine A2a binding sites are located in a number of brainstem regions involved in autonomic function, consistent with the idea that adenosine acts as a neuromodulator of a variety of cardiorespiratory reflexes. Specifically, the data support the hypothesis that adenosine A2a receptors located within the nucleus tractus solitarius are activated during baroreceptor stimulation and have an important modulatory role in the pattern of cardiovascular changes associated with this reflex.