Neuropsychiatric disorders: the potential new therapeutic role of caffeine

Neuropsychiatric disorders: the potential new therapeutic role of caffeine
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A review has assessed the potential new therapeutic role of caffeine in neuropsychiatric disorders.

Caffeine and selective adenosine receptor antagonists are assessed as potential new therapeutic tools for neuropsychiatric disorders.

The recent discoveries

The main targets for caffeine are the adenosine A2A receptor-dopamine D2 receptor (A2AR-D2R) and adenosine A1 receptor-dopamine D1 receptor (A1R-D1R) heteromers. The recently discovered properties of the heteromers have potential therapeutic implications.

According to the review, these recent discoveries, “have provided a better understanding of the mechanisms involved in the psychostimulant effects of caffeine and have brought forward new data on the mechanisms of operation of classical orthosteric ligands within G protein-coupled receptor heteromers.”

The potential therapeutic role for neuropsychiatric disorders

The new paper reviews the preclinical evidence which indicates that caffeine and selective A2AR antagonists could be used to treat some symptoms of depression and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Specifically, this refers to the possibility of using them to treat the motivational symptoms of depression, and the cognitive and emotional impairments in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.

The review explains: “Although depression is typically thought of as involving emotional symptoms, such as sadness and negative affect, it also is important to emphasize that depression is characterized by motivational dysfunctions such as apathy or anergia, psychomotor retardation, reduced exertion of effort, fatigue, and a general lack of behavioral activation.38 These motivational symptoms of depression are highly debilitating, and they are very difficult to treat.”

Additionally, recent research has suggested that the A1R-D1R heteromer which modulates spinal motoneuron excitability, could be targeted by A1R antagonists for therapeutic use in treating spinal cord injury.

The article, titled, “New Developments on the Adenosine Mechanisms of the Central Effects of Caffeine and Their Implications for Neuropsychiatric Disorders,” is part of a series of reviews. The reviews come from a symposium on caffeine and adenosine presented at the meeting “Purines 2018 International,” in Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil.

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