Improvement of spatial memory function in APPswe/PS1dE9 mice after chronic inhibition of phosphodiesterase type 4D

A. S. R. Sierksma, D. L. A. van den Hove, F. Pfau, M. Philippens, O. Bruno, E. Fedele, R. Ricciarelli, H. W. M. Steinbusch, T. Vanmierlo, J. Prickaerts*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Phosphodiesterase type 4 inhibitors (PDE4-Is) have received increasing attention as cognition-enhancers and putative treatment strategies for Alzheimer's disease (AD). By preventing cAMP breakdown, PDE4-Is can enhance intracellular signal transduction and increase the phosphorylation of cAMP response element-binding protein (CREB) and transcription of proteins related to synaptic plasticity and associated memory formation. Unfortunately, clinical development of PDE4-Is has been seriously hampered by emetic side effects. The new isoform-specific PDE4D-I, GEBR-7b, has shown to have beneficial effects on memory at non-emetic doses. The aim of the current study was to investigate chronic cognitionenhancing effects of GEBR-7b in a mouse model of AD. To this extent, 5-month-old (5M) APPswe/PS1dE9 mice received daily subcutaneous injections with GEBR-7b (0.001 mg/kg) or vehicle for a period of 3 weeks, and were tested on affective and cognitive behavior at 7M. We demonstrated a cognitionenhancing potential in APPswe/PS1dE9 mice as their spatial memory function at 7M in the object location test was improved by prior GEBR-7b treatment. APPswe/PS1dE9 mice displayed lower levels of CREB phosphorylation, which remained unaltered after chronic GEBR-7b treatment, and higher levels of tau in the hippocampus. Hippocampal brain-derived neurotrophic factor levels and synaptic densities were not different between experimental groups and no effects were observed on hippocampal GSK3 beta and tau phosphorylation or A beta levels. In conclusion, GEBR-7b can enhance spatial memory function in the APPswe/PS1dE9 mouse model of AD. Although the underlying mechanisms of its cognitionenhancing potential remain to be elucidated, PDE4D inhibition appears an interesting novel therapeutic option for cognitive deficits in AD.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)120-130
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2014


  • Phosphodiesterase inhibitors
  • GEBR-7b
  • Cognition
  • BDNF
  • CREB

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