Anxiolytic effects of phosphodiesterase-2 inhibitors associated with increased cGMP signaling

Anbrin Masood, Ying Huang, Hassan Hajjhussein, Lan Xiao, Hao Li, Wei Wang, Adel Hamza, Chang Guo Zhan, James M. O'Donnell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations


Phosphodiesterase (PDE)-2 is a component of the nitric-oxide synthase (NOS)/guanylyl cyclase signaling pathway in the brain. Given recent evidence that pharmacologically induced changes in NO-cGMP signaling can affect anxiety-related behaviors, the effects of the PDE2 inhibitors (2-(3,4-dimethoxybenzyl)-7-det-5-methylimidazo-[5,1-f ][1,2,4]triazin-4(3H)-one) (Bay 60-7550) and 3-(8-methoxy-1-methyl-2-oxo-7-phenyl-2,3-dihydro-1H-benzo[e]- [1,4]diazepin-5-yl)benzamide (ND7001), as well as modulators of NO, were assessed on cGMP signaling in neurons and on the behavior of mice in the elevated plus-maze, hole-board, and open-field tests, well established procedures for the evaluation of anxiolytics. Bay 60-7550 (1 μM) and ND7001 (10 μM) increased basal and N-methyl-D-aspartate- or detanonoate-stimulated cGMP in primary cultures of rat cerebral cortical neurons; Bay 60-7550, but not ND7001, also increased cAMP. Increased cGMP signaling, either by administration of the PDE2 inhibitors Bay 60-7550 (0.5, 1, and 3 mg/kg) or ND7001 (1 mg/kg), or the NO donor detanonoate (0.5 mg/kg), antagonized the anxiogenic effects of restraint stress on behavior in the three tests. These drugs also produced anxiolytic effects on behavior in nonstressed mice in the elevated plus-maze and hole-board tests; these effects were antagonized by the guanylyl cyclase inhibitor 1H-[1,2,4]oxadiazolo[ 4,3-a]quinoxalin-1-one (20 mg/kg). By contrast, the NOS inhibitor Nω-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester (50 mg/kg), which reduces cGMP signaling, produced anxiogenic effects similar to restraint stress. Overall, the present behavioral and neurochemical data suggest that PDE2 may be a novel pharmacological target for the development of drugs for the treatment of anxiety disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)690-699
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Nov 2009
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology


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