Adenosine modulates dopamine in the brain via A1 and A2A receptors, but that modulation has only been characterized on a slow time scale. Recent studies have characterized a rapid signaling mode of adenosine that suggests a possible rapid modulatory role. Here, fast-scan cyclic voltammetry was used to characterize the extent to which transient adenosine changes modulate stimulated dopamine release (5 pulses at 60 Hz) in rat caudate–putamen brain slices. Exogenous adenosine was applied and dopamine concentration monitored. Adenosine only modulated dopamine when it was applied 2 or 5 s before stimulation. Longer time intervals and bath application of 5 μM adenosine did not decrease dopamine release. Mechanical stimulation of endogenous adenosine 2 s before dopamine stimulation also decreased stimulated dopamine release by 41 ± 7%, similar to the 54 ± 6% decrease in dopamine after exogenous adenosine application. Dopamine inhibition by transient adenosine was recovered within 10 min. The A1 receptor antagonist 8-cyclopentyl-1,3-dipropylxanthine blocked the dopamine modulation, whereas dopamine modulation was unaffected by the A2A receptor antagonist SCH 442416. Thus, transient adenosine changes can transiently modulate phasic dopamine release via A1 receptors. These data demonstrate that adenosine has a rapid, but transient, modulatory role in the brain.
Here, transient adenosine was shown to modulate phasic dopamine release on the order of seconds by acting at the A1 receptor. However, sustained increases in adenosine did not regulate phasic dopamine release. This study demonstrates for the first time a transient, neuromodulatory function of rapid adenosine to regulate rapid neurotransmitter release.