Adenosine receptors in rat basophilic leukaemia cells: Transductional mechanisms and effects on 5-hydroxytryptamine release

M. P. Abbracchio, A. M. Paoletti, A. Luini, F. Cattabeni, M. A. De Matteis

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The presence of adenosine receptors linked to adenylate cyclase activity and their functional role in calcium-evoked 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT) release was investigated in rat basophilic leukaemia (RBL) cells, a widely used model for studying the molecular mechanisms responsible for stimulus-secretion coupling. 2. In [3H]-5-HT-loaded cells triggered to release by the calcium ionophore A23187, a biphasic modulation of 5-HT secretion was induced by adenosine analogues, with inhibition of stimulated release at nM and potentiation at μM concentrations, suggesting the presence of adenosine receptor subtypes mediating opposite effects on calcium-dependent release. This was also confirmed by results obtained with other agents interfering with adenosine pharmacology, such as adenosine deaminase and the non-selective A1/A2 antagonist 8-phenyl-theophylline. 3. Similar biphasic dose-response curves were obtained with a variety of adenosine analogues on basal adenylate cyclase activity in RBL cells, with inhibition and stimulation of adenosine 3':5'-cyclic monophosphate (cyclic AMP) production at nM and μM concentrations, respectively. The rank order of potency of adenosine analogues for inhibition and stimulation of adenylate cyclase activity and the involvement of G-proteins in modulation of cyclic AMP levels suggested the presence of cyclase-linked A1 high-affinity and A2-like low-affinity adenosine receptor subtypes. However, the atypical antagonism profile displayed by adenosine receptor xanthine antagonists on cyclase stimulation suggested that the A2-like receptor expressed by RBL cells might represent a novel cyclase-coupled A2 receptor subtype. 4. Micromolar concentrations of adenosine analogues could also increase inositol phospholipid hydrolysis and inositol tris-phosphate formation in both unstimulated cells and in cells triggered to release by the calcium ionophore. The stimulation was constant, small and additive to that exerted by the calcium ionophore. 5. It is concluded that RBL cells express both A1 and A2-like adenosine receptors which exert opposite effects on 5-HT release and intracellular cyclic AMP levels. However, besides modulation of cyclic AMP levels, additional transduction pathways, such as modulation of phospholipase C activity, may contribute to the release response evoked by adenosine analogues in this cell-line.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)405-411
Number of pages7
JournalBritish Journal of Pharmacology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1992


  • 5-hydroxytryptamine release
  • Adenosine receptors
  • Cyclic AMP levels
  • Inositol-tris-phosphate production
  • Rat basophilic leukaemia cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology


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