Investigations of recent years revealed that isozymes of cyclic-3', 5'-nucleotide phosphodiesterase (PDE) are a critically important component of the cyclic-3',5'-adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) protein kinase A (PKA) signaling pathway. The superfamily of cyclic-3', 5'-phosphodiesterase (PDE) isozymes consists of at least nine gene families (types): PDE1 to PDE9. Some PDE families are very diverse and consist of several subtypes and numerous PDE isoform-splice variants. PDE isozymes differ in molecular structure, catalytic properties, intracellular regulation and location, and sensitivity to selective inhibitors, as well as differential expression in various cell types. A number of type-specific "second-generation" PDE inhibitors have been developed. Current evidence indicates that PDE isozymes play a role in several pathobiologic processes in kidney cells. In rat mesangial cells, PDE3 and PDE4 compartmentalize cAMP signaling to the PDE3-linked cAMP-PKA pathway that modulates mitogenesis and PDE4-linked cAMP-PKA pathway that modulates generation of reactive oxygen species. Administration of selective PDE isozyme inhibitors in vivo suppresses proteinuria and pathologic changes in experimental anti-Thy-1.1 mesangial proliferative glomerulonephritis in rats. Increased activity of PDE5 (and perhaps also PDE9) in glomeruli and in cells of collecting ducts in sodium-retaining states, such as nephrotic syndrome, accounts for renal resistance to atriopeptin; diminished ability to excrete sodium can be corrected by administration of the selective PDE5 inhibitor zaprinast. Anomalously high PDE4 activity in collecting ducts is a basis of unresponsiveness to vasopressin in mice with hereditary nephrogenic diabetes insipidus. Apparently, PDE isozymes apparently also play an important role in the pathogenesis of acute renal failure of different origins. Administration of PDE isozyme-selective inhibitors suppresses some components of immune responses to allograft transplant and improves preservation and survival of transplanted organ. PDE isozymes are a target for action of numerous novel selective PDE inhibitors, which are key components in the design of novel "signal transduction" pharmacotherapies of kidney diseases.