Adenosine receptor control of cognition in normal and disease.
Adenosine and adenosine receptors (ARs) are increasingly recognized as important therapeutic targets for controlling cognition under normal and disease conditions for its dual roles of neuromodulation as well as of homeostatic function in the brain. This chapter first presents the unique ability of adenosine, by acting on the inhibitory A1 and facilitating A2A receptor, to integrate dopamine, glutamate, and BNDF signaling and to modulate synaptic plasticity (e.g., long-term potentiation and long-term depression) in brain regions relevant to learning and memory, providing the molecular and cellular bases for adenosine receptor (AR) control of cognition. This led to the demonstration of AR modulation of social recognition memory, working memory, reference memory, reversal learning, goal-directed behavior/habit formation, Pavlovian fear conditioning, and effort-related behavior. Furthermore, human and animal studies support that AR activity can also, through cognitive enhancement and neuroprotection, reverse cognitive impairments in animal models of Alzheimer's disease (AD), Parkinson's disease (PD), Huntington's disease, and schizophrenia. Lastly, epidemiological evidence indicates that regular human consumption of caffeine, the most widely used psychoactive drug and nonselective AR antagonists, is associated with the reduced cognitive decline in aging and AD patients, and with the reduced risk in developing PD. Thus, there is a convergence of the molecular studies revealing AR as molecular targets for integrating neurotransmitter signaling and controlling synaptic plasticity, with animal studies demonstrating the strong procognitive impact upon AR antagonism in normal and disease brains and with epidemiological and clinical evidences in support of caffeine and AR drugs for therapeutic modulation of cognition. Since some of adenosine A2A receptor antagonists are already in phase III clinical trials for motor benefits in PD patients with remarkable safety profiles, additional animal and human studies to better understand the mechanism underlying the AR-mediated control of cognition under normal and disease conditions will provide the required rationale to stimulate the necessary clinical investigation to rapidly translate adenosine and AR drug as a novel strategy to control memory impairment in neuropsychiatric disorders.