PDE3 and PDE4 isozyme-selective inhibitors are both required for synergistic activation of brown adipose tissue.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Molecular pharmacology, Volume 83, Issue 6, p.1155-65 (2013)


3',5'-Cyclic-AMP Phosphodiesterases, Adipose Tissue, Brown, Adrenergic beta-Agonists, Animals, Cells, Cultured, Cyclic Nucleotide Phosphodiesterases, Type 3, Cyclic Nucleotide Phosphodiesterases, Type 4, Drug Synergism, Glucose, Ion Channels, Isoenzymes, Lipolysis, MICE, Mice, Inbred C57BL, Mice, Knockout, Mitochondrial Proteins, Phosphodiesterase 3 Inhibitors, Phosphodiesterase 4 Inhibitors, RNA, Messenger, Stem Cells, Translational Bioimaging Center Core Facility


Brown adipose tissue (BAT) is a highly thermogenic organ that converts lipids and glucose into heat. Many of the metabolic and gene transcriptional hallmarks of BAT activation, namely increased lipolysis, uncoupling protein-1 (UCP1) mRNA, and glucose uptake, are regulated by the adrenergic second messenger, cAMP. Cyclic nucleotide phosphodiesterases (PDEs) catalyze the breakdown of cAMP, thereby regulating the magnitude and duration of this signaling molecule. In the absence of adrenergic stimulus, we found that it required a combination of a PDE3 and a PDE4 inhibitor to fully induce UCP1 mRNA and lipolysis in brown adipocytes, whereas neither PDE inhibitor alone had any substantial effect under basal conditions. Under submaximal β-adrenoceptor stimulation of brown adipocytes, a PDE3 inhibitor alone could potentiate induction of UCP1 mRNA, whereas a PDE4 inhibitor alone could augment lipolysis, indicating differential roles for each of these two PDEs. Neither induction of UCP1 nor lipolysis was altered by inhibition of PDE1, PDE2, or PDE8A. Finally, when injected into mice, the combination of PDE3 and PDE4 inhibitors stimulated glucose uptake in BAT under thermoneutral and fasted conditions, a response that was further potentiated by the global ablation of PDE8A. Taken together, these data reveal that multiple PDEs work in concert to regulate three of the important pathways leading to BAT activation, a finding that may provide an improved conceptual basis for the development of therapies for obesity-related diseases.