The influence of two selective phosphodiesterase 4 (PDE4) inhibitors, rolipram and Ro 20-1724, on the induction of BDNF mRNA by antidepressant treatment was examined. Coadministration of rolipram or Ro 20-1724 with an antidepressant (either desipramine or Org 4428) for 21 d resulted in a significant induction of BDNF mRNA in hippocampus relative to administration of vehicle. Coadministration of a PDE4 inhibitor with an antidepressant for 7 or 14 d also increased levels of BDNF mRNA. In contrast, acute coadministration did not influence levels of BDNF mRNA. In situ hybridization analysis demonstrated that the induction of BDNF mRNA in response to the repeated coadministration paradigm occurs in the dentate gyrus granule and CA1 and CA3 pyramidal cell layers of hippocampus. These findings demonstrate that coadministration shortens the time required for the upregulation of BDNF mRNA, supporting the possibility that this treatment may provide an effective therapy for major depression.