• hippocampus;
  • rat;
  • Al adenoalne receptor;
  • immunocytochemistry


The nucleoside adenosine exerts potent biological effects via specific receptors, including the inhibitory Al adenosine receptor (A1AR). In the hippocampus A1ARs play an important role in regulating neuronal activity. However, the cellular sites of hippocampal A1ARs are undefined. Using in situ hybridization, receptor autoradiography, and single- and double-label immunocytochemistry techniques, we have characterized the cellular sites of A1AR expression in the rat hippocampus. In situ hybridization and receptor autoradiography studies revealed strikingly different patterns of labeling. In situ hybridization studies revealed heaviest labeling of cell bodies in the granular layer of the dentate gyrus and the pyramidal layers of Ammon's horn. In contrast, using [3H] we observed heavy specific labeling over the neuropil in the dentate hilus stratum moleculare, stratum lacunosum-inoleculare, stratum radiatum, and stratum oriens, and little labeling over cell bodies. Using single-label immunocytochemistry, A1AR immunoreactivity was found to be heaviest over fibers in regions corresponding with heavy [3H] labeling. Double-label florescent confocal microscopy was then used to determine the identity of labeled fibers. A1AR immunoreactivity was found to co-localize with SMI-31 that labels axons, but not with MAP2a, b that labels cell bodies and dendrites, orwith synaptophysin that labels synapses. These data identify axons as the predominant site of A1AR expression in hippocampus. Activation of A1ARs may be a powerful mechanism by which adenosine alters axonal transmission to inhibit neurotransmitter release. © 1995 Wiley-Liss, Inc.