BACKGROUND: Adenosine is a purinergic signaling molecule with a wide range of physiological functions including anti- and pronociceptive properties. Adenosine receptors are expressed in the trigeminovascular system, and adenosine receptor antagonist, caffeine, relieves migraine headache. We performed a systematic review of the literature of preclinical data addressing the role of adenosine in migraine pathophysiology.
METHODS: PubMed and EMBASE were searched for pre-clinical studies on the role of adenosine in migraine pathophysiology on September 5th, 2021.
RESULTS: A total of 2510 studies were screened by title and abstract. Of these, thirteen pre-clinical studies evaluating adenosine, adenosine A1, A2A and A3 receptors were included. These studies showed that adenosine signaling pathway is involved in controlling vascular tone. Furthermore, electrical stimulation of the trigeminal ganglion modulates the expression of adenosine A1 and A2A receptors in the trigeminal ganglion and trigeminal nucleus caudalis implicating adenosine signaling pathway in pain transmission.
CONCLUSION: Preclinical studies showed that adenosine has a dual effect on vasodilation and trigeminal pain pathway due to different receptor activation, suggesting a possible role of adenosine in migraine pathophysiology. Studies investigating pharmacological characteristics of subtypes of adenosine receptors are needed to further elucidate their role as a potential target for migraine treatment.