Suppression of mesangial proliferative glomerulonephritis development in rats by inhibitors of cAMP phosphodiesterase isozymes types III and IV

Yasushi Tsuboi, Stuart J. Shankland, Joseph P. Grande, Henry J. Walker, Richard J. Johnson, Thomas P. Dousa

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66 Scopus citations


Excessive mesangial cell (MC) proliferation is a hallmark of many glomerulopathies. In our recent study on cultured rat MC (Matousovic, K., J.P. Grande, C.C.S. Chini, E.N. Chini, and T.P. Dousa. 1995. J. Clin. Invest. 96:401-410) we found that inhibition of isozyme cyclic-3',5'-nucleotide phosphodiesterase (PDE) type III (PDE-III) suppressed MC mitogenesis by activating cAMP-dependent protein kinase (PKA) and by decreasing activity of mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK). We also found that inhibition of another PDE isozyme, PDE-IV, suppresses superoxide generation in glomeruli (Chini, C.C.S., E.N. Chini, J.M. Williams, K. Matousovic, and T.P. Dousa. 1994. Kidney Int. 46:28-36). We thus explored whether administration in vivo of the selective PDE-III antagonist, lixazinone (LX), together with the specific PDE-IV antagonist, rolipram (RP), can attenuate development of mesangioproliferative glomerulonephritis (MSGN) induced in rats by anti-rat thymocyte serum (ATS). Unlike the vehicle-treated MSGN rats, rats with MSGN treated with LX and RP did not develop proteinuria and maintained normal renal function when examined 5 d after injection of ATS. In PAS-stained kidneys from PDE-antagonists-treated MSGN-rats the morphology of glomeruli showed a reduction in cellularity compared with control rats with ATS. Compared with MSGN rats receiving vehicle, the MSGN rats receiving PDE- antagonists had less glomerular cell proliferation (PCNA δ -65%), a significantly lesser macrophage infiltration (δ -36% ED-1) and a significant reduction of α-smooth muscle actin expression by activated MC; in contrast, immunostaining for platelet antigens and laminin were not different. The beneficial effect of PDE inhibitors was not due to a moderate decrease (~ - 20%) in systolic blood pressure (SBP); as a similar decrease in SBP due to administration of hydralazine, a drug devoid of PDE inhibitory effect, did not reduce severity of MSGN in ATS-injected rats. We conclude that antagonists of PDE-III and PDE-IV administered in submicromolar concentrations in vivo to ATS-injected rats can decrease the activation and proliferation of MC, inhibit the macrophage accumulation, and prevent proteinuria in the acute phase of MSGN. We propose that PDE isozyme inhibitors act to block (negative 'crosstalk') the mitogen-stimulated intracellular signaling pathway which controls MC proliferation due to activating of the cAMP-PKA pathway. These results suggest that antagonists of PDE-III and IV may have a suppressive effect in acute phases or relapses of glomerulopathies associated with MC proliferation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)262-270
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Clinical Investigation
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 15 1996


  • anti-Thy- 1.1 nephritis
  • cAMP phosphodiesterase isozymes
  • macrophages
  • mesangial cells
  • proliferation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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