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Molecules and cells

Adenosine signaling in striatal circuits and alcohol use disorders.


PMID 23912595

Abstract

Adenosine signaling has been implicated in the pathophysiology of alcohol use disorders and other psychiatric disorders such as anxiety and depression. Numerous studies have indicated a role for A1 receptors (A1R) in acute ethanol-induced motor incoordination, while A2A receptors (A2AR) mainly regulate the rewarding effect of ethanol in mice. Recent findings have demonstrated that dampened A2AR-mediated signaling in the dorsomedial striatum (DMS) promotes ethanol-seeking behaviors. Moreover, decreased A2AR function is associated with decreased CREB activity in the DMS, which enhances goal-oriented behaviors and contributes to excessive ethanol drinking in mice. Interestingly, caffeine, the most commonly used psychoactive substance, is known to inhibit both the A1R and A2AR. This dampened adenosine receptor function may mask some of the acute intoxicating effects of ethanol. Furthermore, based on the fact that A2AR activity plays a role in goal-directed behavior, caffeine may also promote ethanol-seeking behavior. The A2AR is enriched in the striatum and exclusively expressed in striatopallidal neurons, which may be responsible for the regulation of inhibitory behavioral control over drug rewarding processes through the indirect pathway of the basal ganglia circuit. Furthermore, the antagonistic interactions between adenosine and dopamine receptors in the striatum also play an integral role in alcoholism and addiction-related disorders. This review focuses on regulation of adenosine signaling in striatal circuits and the possible implication of caffeine in goal-directed behaviors and addiction.