Ph.D. Univ. of Massachusetts
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a neurodegenerative disorder characterized by cognitive impairment and synaptic dysfunction. Adenosine is an important homeostatic modulator that controls the bioenergetic network in the brain through regulating receptor-evoked signaling pathways, bioenergetic machineries, and epigenetic-mediated gene regulation. Equilibrative nucleoside transporter 1 (ENT1) is a major adenosine transporter that recycles adenosine from the extracellular space. In the present study, we report that a small adenosine analogue (designated J4) that inhibited ENT1 prevented the decline in spatial memory in an AD mouse model (APP/PS1). Electrophysiological and biochemical analyses further demonstrated that chronic treatment with J4 normalized the impaired basal synaptic transmission and long-term potentiation (LTP) at Schaffer collateral synapses as well as the aberrant expression of synaptic proteins (e.g., NR2A and NR2B), abnormal neuronal plasticity-related signaling pathways (e.g., PKA and GSK3β), and detrimental elevation in astrocytic A2AR expression in the hippocampus and cortex of APP/PS1 mice. In conclusion, our findings suggest that modulation of adenosine homeostasis by J4 is beneficial in a mouse model of AD. Our study provides a potential therapeutic strategy to delay the progression of AD.