Neuroprotective potential of adenosine A1 receptor partial agonists in experimental models of cerebral ischemia

Alberto Martire, Catia Lambertucci, Rita Pepponi, Antonella Ferrante, Nicholas Benati, Michela Buccioni, Diego Dal Ben, Gabriella Marucci, Karl-Norbert Klotz, Rosaria Volpini, Patrizia Popoli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Cerebral ischemia is the second most common cause of death and a major cause of disability worldwide. Available therapies are based only on anticoagulants or recombinant tissue plasminogen activator. Extracellular adenosine increases during ischemia and acts as a neuroprotective endogenous agent mainly by activating adenosine A1 receptors (A1 Rs) which control calcium influx, glutamate release, membrane potential, and metabolism. Accordingly, in many experimental paradigms it has been already demonstrated that the stimulation of A1 R with full agonists is able to reduce ischemia-related structural and functional brain damage; unfortunately, cardiovascular side effects and desensitization of A1 R induced by these compounds have strongly limited their exploitation in stroke therapy so far. Among the newly emerging compounds, A1 R partial agonists could be almost free of side effects and equally effective. Therefore, we decided to evaluate the neuroprotective potential of two A1 R partial agonists, namely 2'-dCCPA and 3'-dCCPA, in in vitro and ex vivo experimental models of cerebral ischemia. Within the experimental paradigm of oxygen-glucose deprivation in vitro in human neuroblastoma (SH-SY5Y) cells both A1 R partial agonists increased cell viability. Considering the high level of expression of A1 Rs in the hippocampus and the susceptibility of CA1 region to hypoxia, we performed electrophysiological experiments in this subfield. The application of 7 min of oxygen-glucose deprivation constantly produces an irreversible synaptic failure in all the C57Bl/6 mice hippocampal slices evaluated; both tested compounds allowed a significant recovery of synaptic transmission. These findings demonstrate that A1 R and its partial agonists are still of interest for cerebral ischemia therapy. OPEN SCIENCE BADGES: This article has received a badge for *Open Materials* because it provided all relevant information to reproduce the study in the manuscript. The complete Open Science Disclosure form for this article can be found at the end of the article. More information about the Open Practices badges can be found at

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)211-230
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Neurochemistry
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2019


  • Adenosine A1 Receptor Agonists/pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Brain Ischemia
  • Hippocampus/drug effects
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Neuroprotective Agents/pharmacology
  • Receptor, Adenosine A1/drug effects
  • Synaptic Transmission/drug effects


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