Differences between the nonselective adenosine receptor antagonists caffeine and theophylline in motor and mood effects: Studies using medium to high doses in animal models

Lopez-Cruz, Laura; Pardo, Marta; Salamone, John D. and Correa, Mercè (2014). Differences between the nonselective adenosine receptor antagonists caffeine and theophylline in motor and mood effects: Studies using medium to high doses in animal models. Behavioural Brain Research, 270 pp. 213–222.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bbr.2014.05.020

Abstract

Rationale Caffeine and theophylline are methylxanthines that are broadly consumed, sometimes at high doses, and act as minor psychostimulants. Both are nonselective adenosine antagonists for A1 and A2A receptors, which are colocalized with dopamine D1 and D2 receptors in striatal areas. Adenosine antagonists generally have opposite actions to those of dopamine antagonists. Although the effects of caffeine are widely known, theophylline has been much less well characterized, especially at high doses. Methods Adult male CD1 mice were used to study the effect of a broad range of doses (25.0, 50.0 or 100.0 mg/kg) of caffeine and theophylline on measures of spontaneous locomotion and coordination, as well as the pattern of c-Fos immunoreactivity in brain areas rich in adenosine and dopamine receptors. In addition, we evaluated possible anxiety and stress effects of these doses. Results Caffeine, at these doses, impaired or suppressed locomotion in several paradigms. However, theophylline was less potent than caffeine at suppressing motor parameters, and even stimulated locomotion. Both drugs induced corticosterone release, however caffeine was more efficacious at intermediate doses. While caffeine showed an anxiogenic profile at all doses, theophylline only did so at the highest dose used (50 mg/kg). Only theophylline increased c-Fos immunoreactivity in cortical areas. Conclusion Theophylline has fewer disruptive effects than caffeine on motor parameters and produces less stress and anxiety effects. These results are relevant for understanding the potential side effects of methylxanthines when consumed at high doses.

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