The Role of Adenosine in Central Neuromodulation

  • John W. Phillis
  • Peter H. Wu
Part of the Developments in Pharmacology book series (DIPH, volume 2)


The last decade has witnessed an enormous expansion of the research commitment into the actions of adenosine and its nucleotides on nerve and muscle cells. Interest in adenosine is not, however, a new phenomenon, and over fifty years have elapsed since the first observations of the actions of adenosine and adenosine 5’-monophosphate (AMP) on smooth and cardiac muscles [1]. The intervening years have seen a continuing interest in the peripheral actions of adenosine and its nucleotides, with the publication of an important monograph, Biological Actions of the Adenosine Nucleotides [2] in 1950. This text described the actions of adenine nucleotides and related purines on the cardiovascular and respiratory systems and clearly enunciated some of the structural requirements necessary for activation of purinergic receptors. The modern era of research on adenosine was initiated by the hypothesis, proposed by Burnstock and his colleagues [3], that adenosine 5’-triphosphate (A TP) is the transmitter released from so-called purinergic nerves, which form a third division of the autonomic nervous system. The hypothesis itself and the supporting data were elegantly outlined in a subsequent review [4]. It is curious that, although the status of the purinergic hypothesis remains somewhat uncertain, at least in the form in which it was originally presented, there has been widespread acceptance of the concept of adenosinergic modulation of transmitter release in both the central and peripheral nervous systems.


Adenosine Receptor Mean Arterial Blood Pressure Adenine Nucleotide Transmitter Release Sinus Venosus 
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© Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, The Hague 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • John W. Phillis
  • Peter H. Wu

There are no affiliations available

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