Phosphodiesterase-4 inhibition restored hippocampal long term potentiation after primary blast
Due to recent military conflicts and terrorist attacks, blast-induced traumatic brain injury (bTBI) presents a health concern for military and civilian personnel alike. Although secondary blast (penetrating injury) and tertiary blast (inertia-driven brain deformation) are known to be injurious, the effects of primary blast caused by the supersonic shock wave interacting with the skull and brain remain debated. Our group previously reported that in vitro primary blast exposure reduced long-term potentiation (LTP), the electrophysiological correlate of learning and memory, in rat organotypic hippocampal slice cultures (OHSCs) and that primary blast affects key proteins governing LTP. Recent studies have investigated phosphodiesterase-4 (PDE4) inhibition as a therapeutic strategy for reducing LTP deficits following inertia-driven TBI. We investigated the therapeutic potential of PDE4 inhibitors, specifically roflumilast, to ameliorate primary blast-induced deficits in LTP. We found that roflumilast at concentrations of 1 nM or greater prevented deficits in neuronal plasticity measured 24 h post-injury. We also observed a therapeutic window of at least 6 h, but < 23 h. Additionally, we investigated molecular mechanisms that could elucidate this therapeutic effect. Roflumilast treatment (1 nM delivered 6 h post-injury) significantly increased total AMPA glutamate receptor 1 (GluR1) subunit expression, phosphorylation of the GluR1 subunit at the serine-831 site, and phosphorylation of stargazin at the serine-239/240 site upon LTP induction, measured 24 h following injury. Roflumilast treatment significantly increased PSD-95 regardless of LTP induction. These findings indicate that further investigation into the translation of PDE4 inhibition as a therapy following bTBI is warranted.