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Circulation. 2004 Apr 13;109(14):1711-3. Epub 2004 Apr 5.

Inhibition of phosphodiesterase type 5 by the activator of nitric oxide-sensitive guanylyl cyclase BAY 41-2272.

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Insititut für Pharmakologie und Toxikologie, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Bochum, Germany.



By the formation of cGMP, nitric oxide (NO)-sensitive guanylyl cyclase (GC) acts as the effector for the signaling molecule NO and mediates the relaxation of vascular smooth muscle and the inhibition of platelet aggregation. The compounds YC-1 and BAY 41-2272 are regarded as NO-independent activators and sensitizers of NO-sensitive GC. In vivo effects, for example, lowering blood pressure and prolonging tail-bleeding times, turn the compounds into promising candidates for the therapy of cardiovascular diseases. However, YC-1 has also been shown to inhibit the major cGMP-degrading enzyme phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5). The synergistic properties of YC-1 on cGMP formation and degradation lead to an excessive NO-induced cGMP accumulation in cells, explaining the observed physiological effects. We assessed a potential inhibition of PDE5 by the new GC activator BAY 41-2272.


The effects of BAY 41-2272 on NO-sensitive GC and PDE5 activities were tested in vitro. BAY 41-2272 not only sensitized NO-sensitive GC toward activation by NO but also, with comparable potency, inhibited cGMP degradation by PDE5. In intact platelets, BAY 41-2272 greatly potentiated the NO-induced cGMP response that was caused by a synergistic effect of BAY 41-2272 on cGMP formation and degradation.


The physiological effects of BAY 41-2272, which are commonly ascribed to the NO-independent activation of NO-sensitive GC, are rather due to the synergism of sensitization of NO-sensitive GC and inhibition of PDE5.

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