The neuroregulator adenosine is involved in sleep-wake control. Basal forebrain (BF) adenosine levels increase during sleep deprivation. Only a few studies have addressed the effect of sleep deprivation on extracellular adenosine concentrations in other brain regions. In this paper, we describe a microdialysis experiment as well as a meta-analysis of published data. The 64 h microdialysis experiment determined the extracellular adenosine and adenosine monophosphate (AMP) concentrations in the medial prefrontal cortex of rats before, during and after 12 h of sleep deprivation by forced locomotion. The meta-analysis comprised published sleep deprivation animal experiments measuring adenosine by means of microdialysis. In the animal experiment, the overall median adenosine concentration was 0.36 nM and ranged from 0.004 nM to 27 nM. No significant differences were observed between the five conditions: 12 h of wash-out, baseline light phase, baseline dark phase, 12 h of sleep deprivation and 12 h of subsequent recovery. The overall median AMP concentration was 0.10 nM and ranged from 0.001 nM to 7.56 nM. Median AMP concentration increased during sleep deprivation (T = 47; p = 0.047) but normalised during subsequent recovery. The meta-analysis indicates that BF dialysate adenosine concentrations increase with 74.7% (95% CI: 54.1-95.3%) over baseline during sleep deprivation. Cortex dialysate adenosine concentrations during sleep deprivation were so far only reported by 2 publications. The increase in adenosine during sleep deprivation might be specific to the BF. At this stage, the evidence for adenosine levels in other brain regions is based on single experiments and insufficient for generalised conclusions. Further experiments are currently still warranted.