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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Carbamazepine distinguishes between adenosine receptors that mediate different second messenger responses.

The mechanism of the therapeutic and prophylactic effects of carbamazepine (CBZ) in affective psychoses is unknown but may in part be related to the potent competitive interaction of CBZ with adenosine-binding sites in the brain. The anticonvulsant and sedative properties of CBZ are reminiscent of the effects evoked by adenosine-agonists and contrast sharply with the opposite actions of adenosine-antagonists like caffeine. However, indirect evidence suggests an antagonist- rather than an agonist-like activity of CBZ at adenosine-receptors. We have used various model systems, in which adenosine receptor subtypes mediate different second messenger-responses, to investigate this-apparent paradox. CBZ was found to antagonize the A1-receptor-mediated inhibition of cyclic AMP accumulation in cultured astroblasts and in GH3-cells. Furthermore, CBZ also inhibits the adenosine-induced increase in the level of cyclic AMP in cultured astroblasts, which is mediated by low-affinity A2b-receptors. In contrast, CBZ does not block the inhibition elicited by adenosine-agonists of the agonist-induced increased formation of inositolphosphates in human neutrophils, which is mediated by high-affinity A2a-receptors. The specific antagonism by CBZ of A1- but not of high-affinity A2a-receptors was further supported by binding experiments using rat brain membranes. These results suggest that the paradox of CBZ's antagonistic effects at adenosine-receptors might be at least partially reconciled by a selective antagonistic action of CBZ at A1 receptors but not at high-affinity A2a-receptors.[1]


  1. Carbamazepine distinguishes between adenosine receptors that mediate different second messenger responses. Van Calker, D., Steber, R., Klotz, K.N., Greil, W. Eur. J. Pharmacol. (1991) [Pubmed]
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