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Chronic Caffeine Consumption Prevents Memory Disturbance in Different Animal Models of Memory Decline


Caffeine, the most widely consumed psychoactive drug, enhances attention/vigilance, stabilizes mood, and might also independently enhance cognitive performance. Notably, caffeine displays clearer and more robust beneficial effects on memory performance when memory is perturbed by stressful or noxious stimuli either in human or animal studies. Thus, caffeine restores memory performance in sleep-deprived or aged human individuals, a finding replicated in rodent animal models. Likewise, in animal models of Alzheimer's disease (AD), caffeine alleviates memory dysfunction, which is in accordance with the tentative inverse correlation between caffeine intake and the incidence of AD in different (but not all) cohorts. Caffeine also affords beneficial effects in animal models of conditions expected to impair memory performance such as Parkinson's disease, chronic stress, type 2 diabetes, attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder, early life convulsions, or alcohol-induced amnesia. Thus, caffeine should not be viewed as a cognitive enhancer but instead as a cognitive normalizer. Interestingly, these beneficial effects of caffeine on stress-induced memory disturbance are mimicked by antagonists of adenosine A2A receptors. This prominent role of A2A receptors in preventing memory deterioration is probably related to the synaptic localization of this receptor in limbic areas and its ability to control glutamatergic transmission, especially NMDA receptor-dependent plasticity, and to control apoptosis, brain metabolism, and the burden of neuroinflammation. This opens the real and exciting possibility that caffeine consumption might be a prophylactic strategy and A2A receptor antagonists may be a novel therapeutic option to manage memory dysfunction both in AD and in other chronic neurodegenerative disorders where memory deficits occur.