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J Immunol. 2007 Jan 15;178(2):1115-21.

PDE4 inhibition prevents preterm delivery induced by an intrauterine inflammation.

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  • 1Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale Unité 767, 4 Avenue de l'Observatoire, 75270 Paris Cedex 06, France.


The aim of this study was to explore the anti-inflammatory properties of phosphodiesterase-4 (PDE4) inhibitors in vivo and their potential ability to prevent inflammation-induced preterm delivery. Indeed, intrauterine inflammation is the major etiology of very preterm delivery, the leading cause of neonatal mortality and morbidity. Intrauterine injection of Escherichia coli LPS in 15-day-pregnant mice induced an increase of PDE4 activity and PDE4B expression at the maternofetal interface, a rise of amniotic fluid levels of TNF-alpha, IL-1beta, IL-6, and IL-10 and provoked massive preterm delivery and fetal demise. Selective PDE4 inhibition by rolipram prevented the rise in the proinflammatory cytokines. Following the nuclear translocation of the transcription factor NFkappaB, as a marker of cellular activation after the inflammatory challenge, showed a time-dependent sequential activation of the gestational tissues, from the uterine mesometrial to the fetal compartment, particularly in the glycogen-trophoblastic cells of the placenta. This activation was disrupted by PDE4 inhibition, and inflammation-induced preterm delivery and fetal demise were prevented. PDE4 selective inhibitors may thus represent a novel effective treatment to delay inflammation-induced preterm delivery and to prevent adverse outcomes in infants.

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