Expression and activity of cAMP phosphodiesterase isoforms in pulmonary artery smooth muscle cells from patients with pulmonary hypertension: role for PDE1

Am J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol. 2007 Jan;292(1):L294-303. doi: 10.1152/ajplung.00190.2006. Epub 2006 Sep 15.


Pulmonary hypertension (PHT) is associated with increased vascular resistance due to sustained contraction and enhanced proliferation of pulmonary arterial smooth muscle cells (PASMC); the abnormal tone and remodeling in the pulmonary vasculature may relate, at least in part, to decreased cyclic nucleotide levels. Cyclic nucleotide phosphodiesterases (PDEs), of which 11 families have been identified, catalyze the hydrolysis of cAMP and cGMP. We tested the hypothesis that PASMC isolated from patients with PHT, either idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension (IPAH) or secondary pulmonary hypertension (SPH), have increased expression and activity of PDE isoforms that reduce the responsiveness of agents that raise cellular cAMP. Real-time PCR and immunoblotting demonstrated that the expression of PDE1A, PDE1C, PDE3B, and PDE5A was enhanced in PASMC from both IPAH and SPH patients compared with control PASMC. Consistent with this enhanced expression of PDEs, agonist-stimulated cAMP levels were significantly reduced in IPAH and SPH PASMC unless a PDE inhibitor was present. The use of specific PDE inhibitors revealed that an increase in PDE1 and PDE3 activity largely accounted for reduced agonist-induced cAMP levels and increased proliferation in IPAH and SPH PASMC. Treatment with PDE1C-targeted small interference RNA enhanced cAMP accumulation and inhibited cellular proliferation to a greater extent in PHT PASMC than controls. The results imply that an increase in PDE isoforms, in particular PDE1C, contributes to decreased cAMP and increased proliferation of PASMC in patients with PHT. PDE1 isoforms may provide novel targets for the treatment of both primary and secondary forms of the disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 3',5'-Cyclic-AMP Phosphodiesterases / genetics*
  • 3',5'-Cyclic-AMP Phosphodiesterases / metabolism*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Base Sequence
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cyclic Nucleotide Phosphodiesterases, Type 1
  • Cyclic Nucleotide Phosphodiesterases, Type 3
  • DNA Primers / genetics
  • Female
  • Gene Expression
  • Humans
  • Hypertension, Pulmonary / enzymology*
  • Hypertension, Pulmonary / genetics*
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Isoenzymes / genetics
  • Isoenzymes / metabolism
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Phosphoric Diester Hydrolases / genetics*
  • Phosphoric Diester Hydrolases / metabolism*
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism


  • DNA Primers
  • Isoenzymes
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Phosphoric Diester Hydrolases
  • 3',5'-Cyclic-AMP Phosphodiesterases
  • Cyclic Nucleotide Phosphodiesterases, Type 1
  • Cyclic Nucleotide Phosphodiesterases, Type 3
  • PDE1A protein, human
  • PDE1C protein, human
  • PDE3B protein, human