Research ArticleBrain Development

Adenosine Receptor Antagonists Including Caffeine Alter Fetal Brain Development in Mice

Science Translational Medicine  07 Aug 2013:
Vol. 5, Issue 197, pp. 197ra104
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3006258

You are currently viewing the editor's summary.

View Full Text

Log in


Adenosine Receptor Antagonists and Fetal Brain Development

Neural development is strongly influenced by environmental factors including certain drugs. Little information is available about the effects of adenosine receptor antagonists such as caffeine on neural development. To address this question, Silva et al. added caffeine to the drinking water of female mice throughout pregnancy and lactation. They found that caffeine or an adenosine receptor antagonist that specifically blocks type 2A adenosine receptors delayed the migration of specific populations of neurons during brain maturation, resulting in their delayed insertion into target regions. They then showed that 1-week-old offspring of pregnant mice treated with adenosine receptor antagonists were more susceptible to seizures when exposed to a seizure-inducing agent. They further demonstrated that adult offspring of pregnant mice treated with adenosine receptor antagonists had reduced numbers of certain neuronal types as well as impaired memory on certain types of memory tests. This study raises questions about the effects of adenosine receptor antagonists including caffeine on brain development in humans. Retrospective and longitudinal prospective human studies will be needed to evaluate the consequences of caffeine consumption during pregnancy.