Medium spiny neurons (MSNs) expressing dopamine D1 receptor (D1R) or D2 receptor (D2R) are major components of the striatum. Stimulation of D1R activates protein kinase A (PKA) through Golf to increase neuronal activity, while D2R stimulation inhibits PKA through Gi. Adenosine A2A receptor (A2AR) coupled to Golf is highly expressed in D2R-MSNs within the striatum. However, how dopamine and adenosine co-operatively regulate PKA activity remains largely unknown. Here, we measured Rap1gap serine 563 phosphorylation to monitor PKA activity and examined dopamine and adenosine signals in MSNs. We found that a D1R agonist increased Rap1gap phosphorylation in striatal slices and in D1R-MSNs in vivo. A2AR agonist CGS21680 increased Rap1gap phosphorylation, and pretreatment with the D2R agonist quinpirole blocked this effect in striatal slices. D2R antagonist eticlopride increased Rap1gap phosphorylation in D2R-MSNs in vivo, and the effect of eticlopride was blocked by the pretreatment with the A2AR antagonist SCH58261. These results suggest that adenosine positively regulates PKA in D2R-MSNs through A2AR, while this effect is blocked by basal dopamine in vivo. Incorporating computational model analysis, we propose that the shift from D1R-MSNs to D2R-MSNs or vice versa appears to depend predominantly on a change in dopamine concentration.
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