Adenosine A1R/A3R (Adenosine A1 and A3 Receptor) Agonist AST-004 Reduces Brain Infarction in a Nonhuman Primate Model of Stroke

Theodore E. Liston, Aldric Hama, Johannes Boltze, Russell B. Poe, Takahiro Natsume, Ikuo Hayashi, Hiroyuki Takamatsu, William S. Korinek, James D. Lechleiter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Treatment with A1R/A3R (adenosine A1 and A3 receptor) agonists in rodent models of acute ischemic stroke results in significantly reduced lesion volume, indicating activation of adenosine A1R or A3R is cerebroprotective. However, dosing and timing required for cerebroprotection has yet to be established, and whether adenosine A1R/A3R activation will lead to cerebroprotection in a gyrencephalic species has yet to be determined. METHODS: The current study used clinical study intervention timelines in a nonhuman primate model of transient, 4-hour middle cerebral artery occlusion to investigate a potential cerebroprotective effect of the dual adenosine A1R/A3R agonist AST-004. Bolus and then 22 hours intravenous infusion of AST-004 was initiated 2 hours after transient middle cerebral artery occlusion. Primary outcome measures included lesion volume, lesion growth kinetics, penumbra volume as well as initial pharmacokinetic-pharmacodynamic relationships measured up to 5 days after transient middle cerebral artery occlusion. Secondary outcome measures included physiological parameters and neurological function. RESULTS: Administration of AST-004 resulted in rapid and statistically significant decreases in lesion growth rate and total lesion volume. In addition, penumbra volume decline over time was significantly less under AST-004 treatment compared with vehicle treatment. These changes correlated with unbound AST-004 concentrations in the plasma and cerebrospinal fluid as well as estimated brain A1R and A3R occupancy. No relevant changes in physiological parameters were observed during AST-004 treatment. CONCLUSIONS: These findings suggest that administration of AST-004 and combined A1R/A3R agonism in the brain are efficacious pharmacological interventions in acute ischemic stroke and warrant further clinical evaluation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)238-248
Number of pages11
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2022


  • Adenosine A1 receptor agonists
  • Adenosine A3 receptor agonists
  • Infarction
  • Middle cerebral artery
  • Primates
  • Stroke

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing


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