Dysregulation of brain adenosine is detrimental to the expression of conditioned freezing but not general Pavlovian learning

Philipp Singer, Chuchu Zhang, Detlev Boison, Kay Yan Benjamin Yee

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Glutamatergic and dopaminergic neurotransmission is modulated by adenosine, whose ambient level in the brain is in turn regulated by the metabolic enzyme, adenosine kinase (ADK). Brain adenosinergic tone can therefore be effectively reduced and increased by up- and down-regulation of ADK expression, respectively. Although changes in brain ADK levels can yield multiple behavioral effects, the precise functional significance of telencephalon (neocortical and limbic structures) adenosine remains ill-defined. Among the phenotypes identified in transgenic mice with brain-wide ADK overexpression (ADKTGmice) and reduced adenosinergic tone, working memory deficiency and potentiated response to systemic N-methyl-d-aspartate receptor blockade were exacerbated by the introduction of local ADK disruption (elevated adenosinergic tone) restricted to the telencephalon (ADKTG:ADKTel-defmice). These two phenotypes, which are central to schizophrenia cognitive/negative symptoms, appear to be regulated by adenosinergic activities within and outside the telencephalon in a complementary manner. Here, we extended this unique comparison between ADKTGmice ADKTG:ADKTel-defmice to another prominent phenotype previously documented in ADKTGmice - namely, impaired Pavlovian conditioned freezing. We found that ADKTG:ADKTel-defmice again were associated with a more severe phenotype while sharing a similar phenotype profile. Furthermore, we qualified that this Pavlovian phenotype did not translate into a general deficiency in associative learning, since no such deficit was evident in three other (aversive and appetitive) Pavlovian learning paradigms. The present study has thus identified a hitherto unknown function of brain adenosine: the execution of conditioned freezing behavior, which is dependent on the balance of adenosinergic changes between the telencephalon and the rest of the brain.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)80-89
Number of pages10
JournalPharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Adenosine
  • Adenosine kinase
  • Associative learning
  • Conditioned freezing
  • Memory
  • Mutant mouse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Pharmacology
  • Toxicology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Biological Psychiatry


Dive into the research topics of 'Dysregulation of brain adenosine is detrimental to the expression of conditioned freezing but not general Pavlovian learning'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this