Roflumilast ameliorates cognitive impairment in APP/PS1 mice via cAMP/CREB/BDNF signaling and anti-neuroinflammatory effects.Metab Brain Dis. 2019 04; 34(2):583-591.MB
Phosphodiesterase type 4 (PDE4) inhibitors can prevent the breakdown of the second messenger cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) and improve cognitive performances in several animal models of cognition. However, the clinical development of PDE4 inhibitors has been seriously hampered by severe side effects, such as vomiting and nausea. In this study, we investigated the effect and mechanism of roflumilast, an FDA-approved PDE4 inhibitor for treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), on learning and memory abilities in the APP/PS1 mouse model of Alzheimer's disease (AD). APP/PS1 transgenic mice received 3 intragastric doses of roflumilast (0.1, 0.2 and 0.4 mg/kg) daily for 3 weeks followed by behavioral tests. Chronic administration of roflumilast significantly improved the learning and memory abilities of APP/PS1 transgenic mice in the novel object recognition task, Morris water maze, and the step-down passive avoidance task. In addition, roflumilast increased the cAMP, phosphorylated cAMP response-element binding protein (p-CREB) and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) levels, and reduced the nuclear translocation of nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-κB) p65, and proinflammatory cytokine (IL-6, TNF-a and IL-1β) levels in the hippocampus of APP/PS1 transgenic mice. In conclusion, these findings suggest that roflumilast can enhance cognitive function in APP/PS1 transgenic mice, which may be related to its stimulation of the cAMP/CREB/BDNF pathway and anti-neuroinflammatory effects.