Neurobiology of aging

Inhibition of phosphodiesterase 2 reverses impaired cognition and neuronal remodeling caused by chronic stress.

PMID 25442113


Chronic stress and neuronal vulnerability have recently been recognized as factors contributing to cognitive disorders. One way to modify neuronal vulnerability is through mediation of phosphodiesterase 2 (PDE2), an enzyme that exerts its action on cognitive processes via the control of intracellular second messengers, cGMP and, to a lesser extent, cAMP. This study explored the effects of a PDE2 inhibitor, Bay 60-7550, on stress-induced learning and memory dysfunction in terms of its ramification on behavioral, morphologic, and molecular changes. Bay 60-7550 reversed stress-induced cognitive impairment in the Morris water maze, novel object recognition, and location tasks (object recognition test and/or object location test), effects prevented by treatment with 7-NI, a selective inhibitor of neuronal nitric oxide synthase; MK801, a glutamate receptor (NMDAR) inhibitor; myr-AIP, a CaMKII inhibitor; and KT5823, a protein kinase G inhibitor. Bay 60-7550 also ameliorated stress-induced structural remodeling in the CA1 of the hippocampus, leading to increases in dendritic branching, length, and spine density. However, the neuroplasticity initiated by Bay 60-7550 was not seen in the presence of 7-NI, MK801, myr-AIP, or KT5823. PDE2 inhibition reduced stress-induced extracellular-regulated protein kinase activation and attenuated stress-induced decreases in transcription factors (e.g., Elk-1, TORC1, and CREB phosphorylation) and plasticity-related proteins (e.g., Egr-1 and brain-derived neurotrophic factor). Pretreatment with inhibitors of NMDA, CaMKII, neuronal nitric oxide synthase, and protein kinase G (or protein kinase A) blocked the effects of Bay 60-7550 on cGMP or cAMP signaling. These findings indicate that the effect of PDE2 inhibition on stress-induced memory impairment is potentially mediated via modulation of neuroplasticity-related NMDAR-CaMKII-cGMP/cAMP signaling.