In the present study, we investigated the cardiovascular effects of intravenously injected uridine or cytidine, and the role of adenosine receptors in mediating these effects, in conscious normotensive rats. Intravenous (i.v.) administration of uridine (124, 250, 500 mg/kg) dose-dependently decreased arterial pressure and heart rate. Cytidine (124, 250, 500 mg/kg; i.v.) produced slight dose-related hypotension without changing heart rate. Plasma uridine and cytidine concentrations increased time- and dose-dependently while plasma adenosine levels did not change after injection of the respective nucleosides. Pretreatment with intravenous caffeine (20 mg/kg), 8-phenyltheophylline (8-PT) (1 mg/kg), nonselective adenosine receptor antagonists, or 8-p-sulfophenyltheophylline (8-SPT) (20 mg/kg), a nonselective adenosine receptor antagonist which does not cross the blood-brain barrier, abolished the cardiovascular effects of uridine (250 mg/kg; i.v.) or cytidine (250 mg/kg; i.v.). Intracerebroventricular (i.c.v.) caffeine (200 μg) or 8-SPT (50 μg) pretreatment did not change the magnitude of the cardiovascular responses induced by nucleosides. Intravenous 8-cyclopenthyl-1,3-dipropylxanthine (DPCPX) (5 mg/kg), a selective adenosine A1 receptor antagonist, greatly attenuated the cardiovascular responses to uridine and cytidine. Pretreatment with 3,7,-dimethyl-1-propargylxanthine (DMPX) (2 mg/kg), an adenosine A1/A2 receptor antagonist, attenuated hypotension induced by uridine and blocked the arterial pressure decrease in response to cytidine. Uridine-induced bradycardia was blocked by DMPX. 4-(2-[7-amino-2-(2-furyl[1,2,4]-triazolo[2,3-a[1,3,5]triazin-5-yl-aminoethyl)phenol (ZM241385) (1 mg/kg; i.v.), a selective adenosine A2A receptor antagonist, pretreatment produced an only very small blockade in the first minute of the hypotensive effects of uridine without affecting the bradycardia. ZM241385 pretreatment completely blocked cytidine's hypotensive effect. In Langendorff-perfused rat heart preparation, uridine (10- 3 M), but not cytidine, decreased the heart rate. Our results show that intravenously injected uridine or cytidine is able to decrease arterial pressure by activating peripheral adenosine receptors. The data also implicates that the mainly adenosine A1 receptor activation is involved in the uridine-induced cardiovascular effects, while both adenosine A1 and A2A receptor activations mediate the cytidine's effects. © 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.