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The consumption of caffeine (an adenosine receptor antagonist) correlates inversely with depression and memory deterioration, and adenosine A(2A) receptor (A(2A)R) antagonists emerge as candidate therapeutic targets because they control aberrant synaptic plasticity and afford neuroprotection. Therefore we tested the ability of A(2A)R to control the behavioral, electrophysiological, and neurochemical modifications caused by chronic unpredictable stress (CUS), which alters hippocampal circuits, dampens mood and memory performance, and enhances susceptibility to depression. CUS for 3 wk in adult mice induced anxiogenic and helpless-like behavior and decreased memory performance. These behavioral changes were accompanied by synaptic alterations, typified by a decrease in synaptic plasticity and a reduced density of synaptic proteins (synaptosomal-associated protein 25, syntaxin, and vesicular glutamate transporter type 1), together with an increased density of A(2A)R in glutamatergic terminals in the hippocampus. Except for anxiety, for which results were mixed, CUS-induced behavioral and synaptic alterations were prevented by (i) caffeine (1 g/L in the drinking water, starting 3 wk before and continued throughout CUS); (ii) the selective A(2A)R antagonist KW6002 (3 mg/kg, p.o.); (iii) global A(2A)R deletion; and (iv) selective A(2A)R deletion in fore-brain neurons. Notably, A(2A)R blockade was not only prophylactic but also therapeutically efficacious, because a 3-wk treatment with the A(2A)R antagonist SCH58261 (0.1 mg/kg, i.p.) reversed the mood and synaptic dysfunction caused by CUS. These results herald a key role for synaptic A(2A)R in the control of chronic stress-induced modifications and suggest A(2A)R as candidate targets to alleviate the consequences of chronic stress on brain function.


Kaster, Manuella P.;  Machado, Nuno J.;  Silva, Henrique B.;  Nunes, Ana;  Ardais, Ana Paula;  Santana, Magda;  Baqi, Younis;  Mueller, Christa E.;  Rodrigues, Ana Lucia S.;  Porciuncula, Lisiane O.;  Chen, Jiang Fan;  Tome, Angelo R.;  Agostinho, Paula;  Canas, Paula M.;  Cunha, Rodrigo A.

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