Inhibition of cyclic AMP phosphodiesterase (PDE4) reverses memory deficits associated with NMDA receptor antagonism

Neuropsychopharmacology. 2000 Aug;23(2):198-204. doi: 10.1016/S0893-133X(00)00108-1.


Rolipram, a selective inhibitor of type 4 cyclic AMP phosphodiesterase (PDE4), completely reversed the amnesic effects of MK-801 on working and reference memory (F[4,64] = 11.10; p <.0001 and F[4,64] = 2.53; p <.05, respectively) at doses of 0.01-0.1 mg/kg in the radial-arm maze task. Similar antagonism by rolipram of the effects of MK-801 was observed on inhibitory avoidance behavior (F[3,35] = 190.8; p <.0001). In vitro evidence suggests that an increase in cAMP concentrations may mediate the observed behavioral effects of rolipram. In the absence of PDE4 inhibition, NMDA did not increase cAMP concentrations in primary cultures of rat cerebral cortical neurons. However, when PDE4 was inhibited with rolipram, NMDA markedly elevated cAMP. These observations suggest that PDE4 is an integral component of the NMDA receptor-mediated signal transduction pathway involved in memory processes. Inhibitors of PDE4 may act on this pathway to produce their effects on memory and may represent a new class of cognitive enhancers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • 3',5'-Cyclic-AMP Phosphodiesterases / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Animals
  • Avoidance Learning / drug effects
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cyclic AMP / metabolism
  • Cyclic Nucleotide Phosphodiesterases, Type 4
  • Dizocilpine Maleate
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Excitatory Amino Acid Antagonists / pharmacology
  • Male
  • Maze Learning / drug effects
  • Memory Disorders / chemically induced
  • Memory Disorders / drug therapy*
  • N-Methylaspartate / pharmacology
  • Neurons / cytology
  • Neurons / drug effects
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Phosphodiesterase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Reaction Time / drug effects
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Rolipram / therapeutic use*


  • Excitatory Amino Acid Antagonists
  • Phosphodiesterase Inhibitors
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate
  • N-Methylaspartate
  • Dizocilpine Maleate
  • Cyclic AMP
  • 3',5'-Cyclic-AMP Phosphodiesterases
  • Cyclic Nucleotide Phosphodiesterases, Type 4
  • Rolipram