Developmental role of adenosine kinase in the cerebellum

Hoda Gebril, Amir Wahba, Xiaofeng Zhou, Tho Lai, Enmar Alharfoush, Emanuel Dicicco-Bloom, Detlev Boison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Adenosine acts as a neuromodulator and metabolic regulator of the brain through receptor dependent and independent mechanisms. In the brain, adenosine is tightly controlled through its metabolic enzyme adenosine kinase (ADK), which exists in a cytoplasmic (ADK-S) and nuclear (ADK-L) isoform. We recently discovered that ADK-L contributes to adult hippocampal neurogenesis regulation. Although the cerebellum (CB) is a highly plastic brain area with a delayed developmental trajectory, little is known about the role of ADK. Here, we investigated the developmental profile of ADK expression in C57BL/6 mice CB and assessed its role in developmental and proliferative processes. We found high levels of ADK-L during cerebellar development, which was maintained into adulthood. This pattern contrasts with that of the cerebrum, in which ADK-L expression is gradually downregulated postnatally and largely restricted to astrocytes in adulthood. Supporting a functional role in cell proliferation, we found that the ADK inhibitor 5-iodotubericine (5-ITU) reduced DNA synthesis of granular neuron precursors in a concentration-dependent manner in vitro. In the developing CB, immunohistochemical studies indicated ADK-L is expressed in immature Purkinje cells and granular neuron precursors, whereas in adulthood, ADK is absent from Purkinje cells, but widely expressed in mature granule neurons and their molecular layer (ML) processes. Furthermore, ADK-L is expressed in developing and mature Bergmann glia in the Purkinje cell layer, and in astrocytes in major cerebellar cortical layers. Together, our data demonstrate an association between neuronal ADK expression and developmental processes of the CB, which supports a functional role of ADK-L in the plasticity of the CB.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberENEURO.0011-21.2021
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


  • Adenosine
  • Adenosine kinase
  • Cell proliferation
  • Cerebellum
  • Development
  • Granule neuron precursors


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