Adenosine is a nucleoside composed of a molecule of adenine attached to a ribose sugar molecule (ribofuranose) moiety via a β-N9-glycosidic bond.
Adenosine plays an important role in biochemical processes, such as energy transfer—as adenosine triphosphate (ATP) and adenosine diphosphate (ADP)—as well as in signal transduction as cyclic adenosine monophosphate, cAMP. It is also an inhibitory neurotransmitter, believed to play a role in promoting sleep and suppressing arousal, with levels increasing with each hour an organism is awake.
Adenosine is often abbreviated Ado.
Adenosine is an endogenous purine nucleoside that modulates many physiological processes. Cellular signaling by adenosine occurs through four known adenosine receptor subtypes (A1, A2A, A2B, and A3).
Extracellular adenosine concentrations from normal cells are approximately 300 nM; however, in response to cellular damage (e.g. in inflammatory or ischemic tissue), these concentrations are quickly elevated (600–1,200 nM). Thus, in regard to stress or injury, the function of adenosine is primarily that of cytoprotection preventing tissue damage during instances of hypoxia, ischemia, and seizure activity. Activation of A2A receptors produces a constellation of responses that in general can be classified as anti-inflammatory.
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