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Mol Pharmacol. 2011 Apr;79(4):639-48. doi: 10.1124/mol.110.069104. Epub 2010 Dec 27.

The high-affinity cAMP-specific phosphodiesterase 8B controls steroidogenesis in the mouse adrenal gland.

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  • 1University of Washington, Department of Pharmacology, Seattle, WA 98195-7280, USA.


The functions of the phosphodiesterase 8B (PDE8) family of phosphodiesterases have been largely unexplored because of the unavailability of selective pharmacological inhibitors. Here, we report a novel function of PDE8B as a major regulator of adrenal steroidogenesis using a genetically ablated PDE8B mouse model as well as cell lines treated with either a new PDE8-selective inhibitor or a short hairpin RNA (shRNA) construct against PDE8B. We demonstrate that PDE8B is highly enriched in mouse adrenal fasciculata cells, and show that PDE8B knockout mice have elevated urinary corticosterone as a result of adrenal hypersensitivity toward adrenocorticotropin. Likewise, ablation of PDE8B mRNA transcripts by an shRNA construct potentiates steroidogenesis in the commonly used Y-1 adrenal cell line. We also observed that the PDE8-selective inhibitor (PF-04957325) potentiates adrenocorticotropin stimulation of steroidogenesis by increasing cAMP-dependent protein kinase activity in both primary isolated adrenocortical cells and Y-1 cells. It is noteworthy that PDE8s have their greatest control under low adrenocorticotropin-stimulated conditions, whereas other higher K(m) PDE(s) modulate steroidogenesis more effectively when cells are fully stimulated. Finally, both genetic ablation of PDE8B and long-term pharmacological inhibition of PDE8s cause increased expression of steroidogenic enzymes. We conclude that PDE8B is a major regulator of one or more pools of cAMP that promote steroidogenesis via both short- and long-term mechanisms. These findings further suggest PDE8B as a potential therapeutic target for the treatment of several different adrenal diseases.

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