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Endothelial dysfunction is a hallmark of cerebrovascular disease, including ischemic stroke. Modulating endothelial signalling by cyclic nucleotides, cAMP and cGMP, is a potential therapeutic target in stroke. Inhibitors of the cyclic nucleotide degrading phosphodiesterase (PDE) enzymes may restore cerebral endothelial function. Current knowledge on PDE distribution and function in cerebral endothelial cells is sparse. This review explores data on PDE distribution and effects of PDEi in cerebral endothelial cells and identifies which PDEs are potential treatment targets in stroke. We performed a systematic search of electronic databases (Medline and Embase). Our search terms were cerebral ischaemia, cerebral endothelial cells, cyclic nucleotide, phosphodiesterase and phosphodiesterase inhibitors. We found 23 publications which described effects of selective inhibitors of only three PDE families on endothelial function in ischemic stroke. PDE3 inhibitors (PDE3i) (11 publications) and PDE4 inhibitors (PDE4i) (3 publications) showed anti-inflammatory, anti-apoptotic or pro-angiogenic effects. PDE3i also reduced leucocyte infiltration and MMP-9 expression. Both PDE3i and PDE4i increased expression of tight junction proteins and protected the blood-brain barrier. PDE5 inhibitors (PDE5i) (6 publications) reduced inflammation and apoptosis. In preclinical models, PDE5i enhanced cGMP/NO signalling associated with microvascular angiogenesis, increased cerebral blood flow and improved functional recovery. Non-specific PDEi (3 publications) had mainly anti-inflammatory effects. This review demonstrates that non-selective and selective PDEi of PDE3, PDE4 and PDE5 modulated endothelial function in cerebral ischemic stroke by regulating processes involved in vascular repair and neuroprotection and thus reduced cell death and inflammation. Of note, they promoted angiogenesis, microcirculation and improved functional recovery; all are important in stroke prevention and recovery, and effects should be further evaluated in humans. Copyright © 2019. Published by Elsevier Inc.


Saiqa Yasmeen, Bilal Hussain Akram, Atticus H Hainsworth, Christina Kruuse. Cyclic nucleotide phosphodiesterases (PDEs) and endothelial function in ischaemic stroke. A review. Cellular signalling. 2019 Sep;61:108-119

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PMID: 31132399

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