FFPM, a PDE4 inhibitor, reverses learning and memory deficits in APP/PS1 transgenic mice via cAMP/PKA/CREB signaling and anti-inflammatory effects

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Thus far, phosphodiesterase-4 (PDE4) inhibitors have not been approved for application in Alzheimer's disease (AD) in a clinical setting due to severe side effects, such as nausea and vomiting. In this study, we investigated the effect of FFPM, a novel PDE4 inhibitor, on learning and memory abilities, as well as the underlying mechanism in the APP/PS1 mouse model of AD. Pharmacokinetic studies have revealed that FFPM efficiently permeates into the brain, and reached peak values in plasma 2 h after orally dosing. A 3-week treatment with FFPM, at doses of 0.25 mg/kg and 0.5 mg/kg, significantly improved the learning and memory abilities of APP/PS1 transgenic mice in the Morris water maze and the Step-down passive avoidance task. Interestingly, we found that while rolipram (0.5 mg/kg) reduced the duration of the α2 adrenergic receptor-mediated anesthesia induced by xylazine/ketamine, FFPM (0.5 mg/kg) or the vehicle did not have an evident effect. FFPM increased the cAMP, PKA and CREB phosphorylation and BDNF levels, and reduced the NF-κB p65, iNOS, TNF-α and IL-1β levels in the hippocampi of APP/PS1 trangenic mice, as observed by ELISA and Western blot analysis. Taken together, our data demonstrated that the reversal effect of FFPM on cognitive deficits in APP/PS1 transgenic mice might be related to stimulation of the cAMP/PKA/CREB/BDNF pathway and anti-inflammatory effects. Moreover, FFPM appears to have potential as an effective PDE4 inhibitor in AD treatment with little emetic potential.

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