Potentiation of cannabinoid signaling in microglia by adenosine A<inf>2A</inf> receptor antagonists

Rafael Franco, Irene Reyes-Resina, David Aguinaga, Alejandro Lillo, Jasmina Jiménez, Iu Raïch, Dasiel O. Borroto-Escuela, Carlos Ferreiro-Vera, Enric I. Canela, Verónica Sánchez de Medina, Anna del Ser-Badia, Kjell Fuxe, Carlos A. Saura, Gemma Navarro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearch

16 Citations (Scopus)


© 2019 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Neuroprotective M2-skewed microglia appear as promising to alter the course of neurodegenerative diseases and G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) are potential targets to achieve such microglial polarization. A common feature of adenosine A2A (A2AR) and cannabinoid CB2 (CB2R) GPCRs in microglia is that their expression is upregulated in Alzheimer's disease (AD). On the one hand, CB2R seems a target for neuroprotection, delaying neurodegenerative processes like those associated to AD or Parkinson's diseases. A2AR antagonists reduce amyloid burden and improve cognitive performance and memory in AD animal models. We here show a close interrelationship between these two receptors in microglia; they are able to physically interact and affect the signaling of each other, likely due to conformational changes within the A2A-CB2 receptor heteromer (A2A-CB2Het). Particularly relevant is the upregulation of A2A-CB2Het expression in samples from the APPSw,Ind AD transgenic mice model. The most relevant finding, confirmed in both heterologous cells and in primary cultures of microglia, was that blockade of A2A receptors results in increased CB2R-mediated signaling. This heteromer-specific feature suggests that A2AR antagonists would potentiate, via microglia, the neuroprotective action of endocannabinoids with implications for AD therapy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2410-2423
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2019


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • CB receptors 2
  • GPCR
  • heteromer
  • MAPK pathway
  • microglia
  • THC


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