Pro-cognitive effect of upregulating cyclic guanosine monophosphate signalling during memory acquisition or early consolidation is mediated by increased AMPA receptor trafficking

Elentina K. Argyrousi, Pim R. A. Heckman, Britt T. J. van Hagen, Hannah Muysers, Nick P. van Goethem, Jos Prickaerts*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

6 Citations (Web of Science)


Background: Episodic memory consists of different mnemonic phases, including acquisition and early and late consolidation. Each of these phases is characterised by distinct molecular processes. Although both cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) and cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP) are implicated in the acquisition phase, early consolidation only depends on cGMP, whereas late consolidation is mediated by cAMP. Accordingly, the cGMP-selective phosphodiesterase 5 (PDE5) inhibitor vardenafil or the cAMP-selective PDE4 inhibitor rolipram can improve memory acquisition or consolidation when applied during their respective time windows. Aims: Considering the important role of glutamatergic alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid receptors (AMPAR) during normal memory function, we aimed to investigate whether the differential actions of these PDE inhibitors are mediated through AMPAR dynamics. Methods: For biochemical analysis, mice were treated with either vardenafil or rolipram and sacrificed shortly after injection. For the behavioural studies, mice received either of the inhibitors during the different mnemonic phases, while their spatial memory was tested using the object location task, and they were sacrificed 24 hours later. Results: Administration of either vardenafil or rolipram causes rapid changes in AMPARs. Moreover, treatment with vardenafil during the acquisition or early consolidation of spatial memory resulted in increased surface levels of AMPARs which were still augmented 24 hours after learning. Membrane levels of AMPARs were not affected anymore 24 hours after learning when rolipram was administrated at either the acquisition or late consolidation phase. Conclusions: These results suggest that dissociative molecular mechanisms could mediate the pro-cognitive function of different classes of PDE inhibitors, and in the case of vardenafil, this phenomenon could be explained by changes in AMPAR dynamics.

Original languageEnglish
Article number0269881119885262
Pages (from-to)103-114
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Psychopharmacology
Issue number1
Early online date6 Nov 2019
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2020


  • Phosphodiesterase inhibitors
  • AMPA receptors
  • cyclic nucleotide pathways
  • vardenafil
  • rolipram
  • cAMP
  • cGMP
  • CAMP
  • GLUR1

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