Purinergic Signalling

, Volume 14, Issue 3, pp 235–243 | Cite as

Neuronal adenosine A2A receptor overexpression is neuroprotective towards 3-nitropropionic acid-induced striatal toxicity: a rat model of Huntington’s disease

  • Maria Rosaria DomeniciEmail author
  • Valentina Chiodi
  • Mirko Averna
  • Monica Armida
  • Antonella Pèzzola
  • Rita Pepponi
  • Antonella Ferrante
  • Michael Bader
  • Kjell Fuxe
  • Patrizia Popoli
Original Article


The A2A adenosine receptor (A2AR) is widely distributed on different cellular types in the brain, where it exerts a broad spectrum of pathophysiological functions, and for which a role in different neurodegenerative diseases has been hypothesized or demonstrated. To investigate the role of neuronal A2ARs in neurodegeneration, we evaluated in vitro and in vivo the effect of the neurotoxin 3-nitropropionic acid (3-NP) in a transgenic rat strain overexpressing A2ARs under the control of the neural-specific enolase promoter (NSEA2A rats). We recorded extracellular field potentials (FP) in corticostriatal slice and found that the synaptotoxic effect of 3-NP was significantly reduced in NSEA2A rats compared with wild-type animals (WT). In addition, after exposing corticostriatal slices to 3-NP 10 mM for 2 h, we found that striatal cell viability was significantly higher in NSEA2A rats compared to control rats. These in vitro results were confirmed by in vivo experiments: daily treatment of female rats with 3-NP 10 mg/kg for 8 days induced a selective bilateral lesion in the striatum, which was significantly reduced in NSEA2A compared to WT rats. These results demonstrate that the overexpression of the A2AR selectively at the neuronal level reduced 3-NP-induced neurodegeneration, and suggest an important function of the neuronal A2AR in the modulation of neurodegeneration.


Adenosine A2A receptors Huntington’s disease 3-Nitropropionic acid Synaptic transmission Striatum 



We thank Adriano Urcioli and Alessio Gugliotta for the assistance with animal work.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflicts of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Ethical approval

All applicable international, national, and/or institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed.


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maria Rosaria Domenici
    • 1
    Email author
  • Valentina Chiodi
    • 1
  • Mirko Averna
    • 1
  • Monica Armida
    • 1
  • Antonella Pèzzola
    • 1
  • Rita Pepponi
    • 1
  • Antonella Ferrante
    • 1
  • Michael Bader
    • 2
  • Kjell Fuxe
    • 3
  • Patrizia Popoli
    • 1
  1. 1.National Center for Drug Research and EvaluationIstituto Superiore di SanitàRomeItaly
  2. 2.Max-Delbrűck-Center for Molecular MedicineBerlinGermany
  3. 3.Department of NeuroscienceKarolinska InstitutetStockholmSweden

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