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Caffeine prophylactically prevents mood and memory impairments through adenosine A(2A) receptor (A(2A)R) antagonism. A(2A)R antagonists also therapeutically revert mood and memory impairments, but it is not known if caffeine is also therapeutically or only prophylactically effective. Since depression is accompanied by mood and memory alterations, we now explored if chronic (4 weeks) caffeine consumption (0.3 g/L) reverts mood and memory impairment in helpless mice (HM, 12 weeks old), a bred-based model of depression. HM displayed higher immobility in the tail suspension and forced swimming tests, greater anxiety in the elevated plus maze, and poorer memory performance (modified Y-maze and object recognition). HM also had reduced density of synaptic (synaptophysin, SNAP-25), namely, glutamatergic (vGluT1; -22 +/- 7 %) and GABAergic (vGAT; -23 +/- 8 %) markers in the hippocampus. HM displayed higher A(2A)R density (72 +/- 6 %) in hippocampal synapses, an enhanced facilitation of hippocampal glutamate release by the A(2A)R agonist, CGS21680 (30 nM), and a larger LTP amplitude (54 +/- 8 % vs. 21 +/- 5 % in controls) that was restored to control levels (30 +/- 10 %) by the A(2A)R antagonist, SCH58261 (50 nM). Notably, caffeine intake reverted memory deficits and reverted the loss of hippocampal synaptic markers but did not affect helpless or anxiety behavior. These results reinforce the validity of HM as an animal model of depression by showing that they also display reference memory deficits. Furthermore, caffeine intake selectively reverted memory but not mood deficits displayed by HM, which are associated with an increased density and functional impact of hippocampal A(2A)R controlling synaptic glutamatergic function.


Machado, Nuno J.;  Simoes, Ana Patricia;  Silva, Henrique B.;  Ardais, Ana Paula;  Kaster, Manuella P.;  Garcao, Pedro;  Rodrigues, Diana I.;  Pochmann, Daniela;  Santos, Ana Isabel;  Araujo, Ines M.;  Porciuncula, Lisiane O.;  Tome, Angelo R.;  Kofalvi, Attila;  Vaugeois, Jean-Marie;  Agostinho, Paula;  El Yacoubi, Malika;  Cunha, Rodrigo A.;  Gomes, Catarina A.

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