JOURNAL ARTICLE

Antidepressant- and anxiolytic-like effects of the phosphodiesterase-4 inhibitor rolipram on behavior depend on cyclic AMP response element binding protein-mediated neurogenesis in the hippocampus

Yun-Feng Li, Ying Huang, Simon L Amsdell, Lan Xiao, James M O'Donnell, Han-Ting Zhang
Neuropsychopharmacology 2009, 34 (11): 2404-19
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Inhibition of phosphodiesterase-4 (PDE4), an enzyme that catalyzes the hydrolysis of cyclic AMP (cAMP), increases phosphorylation of the cAMP response element binding protein (pCREB) and hippocampal neurogenesis, and produces antidepressant-like effects on behavior; however, causal links among these actions have not been established. In this study, chronic administration of rolipram (0.31-1.25 mg/kg, 16-23 days) produced antidepressant- and anxiolytic-like effects on behavior in mice. It also increased cAMP and pCREB levels in the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex, but increased Sox2, a marker for mitotic progenitor cells, only in the hippocampus. Chronic rolipram treatment also increased hippocampal neurogenesis, as evidenced by increased bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU)-positive cells in the hippocampal dentate gyrus. Methylazoxymethanol (MAM), which is toxic to proliferating cells, reversed rolipram-induced increases in BrdU-positive cells and pCREB in the hippocampus and partially blocked its behavioral effects. Approximately 84% of BrdU-positive cells became newborn neurons, 93% of which co-expressed pCREB; these proportions were not altered by rolipram or MAM, either alone or in combination. Finally, 3 weeks after the end of the MAM treatment, when neurogenesis was no longer inhibited, rolipram again increased hippocampal pCREB and its antidepressant- and anxiolytic-like effects were restored. Overall, these results suggest that rolipram produces its effects on behavior in a manner that at least partially depends on its neurogenic action in the hippocampus, targeting mitotic progenitor cells rather than newborn or mature neurons; cAMP/CREB signaling in hippocampal newborn neurons is critical for neurogenesis and contributes to the behavioral effects of rolipram.

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