Cordycepin, an adenosine analogue, has been reported to improve cognitive function. Important roles on learning and memory of adenosine and its receptors, such as adenosine A1 and A2A receptors (A1R and A2AR), also have been shown. Therefore, we assume that the improvement of learning and memory induced by cordycepin is likely related to hippocampal adenosine content and adenosine receptor density. Here we investigated the effects of cordycepin on the short-term spatial memory by using a spontaneous alternation behavior (SAB) test in Y-maze, and then examined hippocampal adenosine content and A1R and A2AR densities. We found that orally administrated cordycepin (at dosages of 5 and 10mg/kg twice daily for three weeks) significantly increased the percent of relative alternation of mice in SAB but not altered body weight, hippocampus weight and hippocampal adenosine content. Furthermore, cordycepin decreased A2AR density in hippocampal subareas; however, cordycepin only reduced the A1R density in DG but not CA1 or CA3 region. Our results suggest that cordycepin exerts a nootropic role possibly through modulating A2AR density of hippocampus, which further support the concept that it is mostly A2AR rather than A1R to control the adaptive processes of memory performance. These findings would be helpful to provide a new window into the pharmacological properties of cordycepin for cognitive promotion.
Cao, Z. P., Dai, D., Wei, P. J., Han, Y. Y., Guan, Y. Q., Li, H. H., . . . Li, C. H. (2017). Effects of cordycepin on spontaneous alternation behavior and adenosine receptors expression in hippocampus. Physiol Behav, 184, 135-142. doi:10.1016/j.physbeh.2017.11.026