Type IV phosphodiesterases (PDE IV) specifically hydrolyze cAMP and are inhibited by rolipram. RT-PCR was applied to analyze the expression patterns of mRNAs for four cloned human and rat phosphodiesterase type IV isogenes (PDE IV-A, -B, -C and -D). Although these patterns were mostly coincident for the human and rat PDE IV genes, some differences were found between the two species. PDE IV-A expression was detectable in human blood but not in rat blood, suggesting a species-specific difference in the expression of this PDE IV isogene. PDE IV-C was neither detected in human or rat blood nor in different cell populations of the human immune system. It is further demonstrated that the PDE IV isogene expression is differentially regulated by cAMP in different cell types.