PDE4 inhibition reduces neointima formation and inhibits VCAM-1 expression and histone methylation in an Epac-dependent manner.J Mol Cell Cardiol. 2015 Apr; 81:23-33.JM
Phosphodiesterase 4 (PDE4) activity mediates cAMP-dependent smooth muscle cell (SMC) activation following vascular injury. In this study we have investigated the effects of specific PDE4 inhibition with roflumilast on SMC proliferation and inflammatory activation in vitro and neointima formation following guide wire-induced injury of the femoral artery in mice in vivo. In vitro, roflumilast did not affect SMC proliferation, but diminished TNF-α induced expression of the vascular cell adhesion molecule 1 (VCAM-1). Specific activation of the cAMP effector Epac, but not PKA activation mimicked the effects of roflumilast on VCAM-1 expression. Consistently, the reduction of VCAM-1 expression was rescued following inhibition of Epac. TNF-α induced NFκB p65 translocation and VCAM-1 promoter activity were not altered by roflumilast in SMCs. However, roflumilast treatment and Epac activation repressed the induction of the activating epigenetic histone mark H3K4me2 at the VCAM-1 promoter, while PKA activation showed no effect. Furthermore, HDAC inhibition blocked the inhibitory effect of roflumilast on VCAM-1 expression. Both, roflumilast and Epac activation reduced monocyte adhesion to SMCs in vitro. Finally, roflumilast treatment attenuated femoral artery intima-media ratio by more than 50% after 4weeks. In summary, PDE4 inhibition regulates VCAM-1 through a novel Epac-dependent mechanism, which involves regulatory epigenetic components and reduces neointima formation following vascular injury. PDE4 inhibition and Epac activation might represent novel approaches for the treatment of vascular diseases, including atherosclerosis and in-stent restenosis.