The phosphodiesterase (PDE) inhibitor, enoximone, enhances the oxidation of fatty acids in cardiac myocytes. Since carbohydrate oxidation is tightly coupled and inversely related in cardiac tissue to fatty acid oxidation, this study was designed to investigate enoximone‘s effects on glucose metabolism in the heart. To determine if enoximone alters this reciprocal relationship, the effects of enoximone on [U-14C]glucose and [2-14C]pyruvate oxidation were determined in isolated cardiac myocytes. The effect of PDE inhibitors was also examined on pyruvate dehydrogenase complex (PDH) activity, a key component of oxidative glucose metabolism. Two PDE inhibitors, enoximone and milrinone, decreased PDH activity by 69 and 64%, respectively at 0.5 mM. This inhibition of PDH activity by enoximone was completely reversed after removing enoximone from the myocyte medium. PDH activity was unaffected by agents which alter cyclic nucleotide signaling: cGMP, dibutyryl cyclic AMP, and AMP. The effect of enoximone on [2-14C]pyruvate oxidation was similar to that on PDH. Interestingly, the oxidation of glucose was decreased 35% by 0.5 mM enoximone. In isolated rat heart mitochondria (RHM), enoximone decreased PDH activity by 37%. These studies suggest that PDE inhibitors decrease carbohydrate utilization by inhibiting the PDH complex in the heart. The inhibition of PDH by PDE inhibitors appears unrelated to their effects on cAMP or cGMP. This inhibition of PDH by PDE inhibitors may occur, at least in part, secondary to stimulating fatty acid oxidation.