Previous studies have demonstrated opposing roles for adenosine A1 and A2A receptors in the modulation of extracellular levels of glutamate and dopamine in the striatum. In the present study, acute systemic administration of motor-activating doses of the A2A receptor antagonist MSX-3 significantly decreased extracellular levels of dopamine and glutamate in the shell of the rat nucleus accumbens (NAc) and counteracted both dopamine and glutamate release induced by systemic administration of motor-activating doses of either the A1 receptor antagonist CPT or caffeine. Furthermore, exposure to caffeine in the drinking water (1 mg/mL, 14 days) resulted in tolerance to the effects of systemic injection of CPT or caffeine, but not MSX-3, on extracellular levels of dopamine and glutamate in the NAc shell. The present results show: first, the existence of opposite tonic effects of adenosine on extracellular levels of dopamine and glutamate in the shell of the NAc mediated by A1 and A2A receptors; second, that complete tolerance to caffeine's dopamine- and glutamate-releasing effects which develops after chronic caffeine exposure is attributable to an A1 receptor-mediated mechanism. Development of tolerance to the dopamine-releasing effects of caffeine in the shell of the NAc may explain its weak addictive properties and atypical psychostimulant profile.