Nucleosides, such as uridine, inosine, guanosine and adenosine, may participate in the regulation of sleep, cognition, memory and nociception, the suppression of seizures, and have also been suggested to play a role in the pathophysiology of some neurodegenerative and neuropsychiatric diseases. Under pathological conditions, levels of nucleosides change extremely in the brain, indicating their participation in the pathophysiology of disorders like Alzheimers disease, Parkinsons disease and schizophrenia. These findings have resulted in an increasing attention to the roles of nucleosides in the central nervous system. The specific effects of nucleosides depend on the expression of their receptors and transporters in neuronal and glial cells, as well as their extracellular concentrations in the brain. A complex interlinked metabolic network and transporters of nucleosides may balance nucleoside levels in the brain tissue under normal conditions and enable the fine modulation of neuronal and glial processes via nucleoside receptor signaling mechanisms. Brain levels of nucleosides were found to vary when measured in a variety of different brain regions. In addition, nucleoside levels also depend on age and gender. Furthermore, distributions of nucleoside transporters and receptors as well as nucleoside metabolic enzyme activities demonstrate the area, age and gender dependence of the nucleoside system, suggesting different roles of nucleosides in functionally different brain areas. The aim of this review article is to summarize our present knowledge of the area-, age- and gender-dependent distribution of nucleoside levels, nucleoside metabolic enzyme activity, nucleoside receptors and nucleoside transporters in the brain.
Keywords: Nucleosides, area, age, gender dependence, brain, regulation of sleep, cognition, memory and nociception, suppression of seizures, neurodegenerative and neuropsychiatric diseases, Alzheimer's disease, nucleoside metabolic enzyme activity, CNS