Effects of nitrobenzylthioinosine on neuronal injury, adenosine levels, and adenosine receptor activity in rat forebrain ischemia

F. E. Parkinson, Y. W. Zhang, P. N. Shepel, S. C. Greenway, J. Peeling, J. D. Geiger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Adenosine levels increase in brain during cerebral ischemia, and adenosine has receptor-mediated neuroprotective effects. This study was performed to test the hypothesis that nitrobenzylthioinosine (NBMPR), a selective and potent inhibitor of one adenosine transporter subtype termed ENT1, or es, can protect against ischemic neuronal injury by enhancing adenosine levels and potentiating adenosine receptor-mediated effects, including attenuation of the cellular production and release of tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α). In rats, the phosphorylated prodrug form of NBMPR, NBMPR-phosphate, or saline was administered by intracerebroventricular injection 30 min before forebrain ischemia. Seven days following the ischemic episode, rats were killed, and neuronal damage in the CA1 region of the hippocampus was assessed. The number of pyramidal neurons was significantly (p < 0.001) greater in the NBMPR-P treatment group. A trend toward protection was still evident at 28 days postreperfusion. Adenosine increased significantly during ischemia to levels eight- to 85-fold above basal. NBMPR- P treatment did not cause statistically significant increases in ischemic adenosine levels; however, this treatment tended to increase adenosine levels in all brain regions at 7 min postreperfusion. Ischemia-induced expression of TNF-α was not altered by NBMPR-P treatment, and the nonselective adenosine receptor antagonist 8-(p-sulfophenyl)theophylline did not abolish the neuroprotective effects of NBMPR-P treatment. These data indicate that NBMPR can protect CA1 pyramidal neurons from ischemic death without statistically significant effects on adenosine levels or adenosine receptor-mediated inhibition of the proinflammatory cytokine TNF-α.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)795-802
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Neurochemistry
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Adenosine
  • Cerebral ischemia
  • Nitrobenzylthioinosine
  • Nucleoside transport
  • Tumor necrosis factor-α

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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