Background: We investigated the role of cyclic nucleotide phosphodiesterases (PDEs) in the spatiotemporal control of intracellular cAMP concentrations in rat aortic smooth muscle cells (RASMCs). Methodology/Principal Findings: The rank order of PDE families contributing to global cAMP-PDE activity was PDE4> PDE3 = PDE1. PDE7 mRNA expression but not activity was confirmed. The Fluorescence Resonance Energy Transfer (FRET)-based cAMP sensor, Epac1-camps, was used to monitor the time course of cytosolic cAMP changes. A pulse application of the β-adrenoceptor (β-AR) agonist isoproterenol (Iso) induced a transient FRET signal. Both β1- and β2-AR antagonists decreased the signal amplitude without affecting its kinetics. The non-selective PDE inhibitor (IBMX) dramatically increased the amplitude and delayed the recovery phase of Iso response, in agreement with a role of PDEs in degrading cAMP produced by Iso. Whereas PDE1, PDE3 and PDE7 blockades [with MIMX, cilostamide (Cil) and BRL 50481 (BRL), respectively] had no or minor effect on Iso response, PDE4 inhibition [with Ro-20-1724 (Ro)] strongly increased its amplitude and delayed its recovery. When Ro was applied concomitantly with MIMX or Cil (but not with BRL), the Iso response was drastically further prolonged. PDE4 inhibition similarly prolonged both β1- and β2-AR-mediated responses. When a membrane-targeted FRET sensor was used, PDE3 and PDE4 acted in a synergistic manner to hydrolyze the submembrane cAMP produced either at baseline or after β-AR stimulation. Conclusion/Significance: Our study underlines the importance of cAMP-PDEs in the dynamic control of intracellular cAMP signals in RASMCs, and demonstrates the prominent role of PDE4 in limiting β-AR responses. PDE4 inhibition unmasks an effect of PDE1 and PDE3 on cytosolic cAMP hydrolyzis, and acts synergistically with PDE3 inhibition at the submembrane compartment. This suggests that mixed PDE4/PDE1 or PDE4/PDE3 inhibitors would be attractive to potentiate cAMP-related functions in vascular cells. © 2012 Zhai et al.
Zhai, K., Hubert, F., Nicolas, V., Ji, G., Fischmeister, R., & Leblais, V. (2012). β-Adrenergic cAMP Signals Are Predominantly Regulated by Phosphodiesterase Type 4 in Cultured Adult Rat Aortic Smooth Muscle Cells. PLoS ONE, 7(10). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0047826