A selective phosphodiesterase-4 inhibitor reduces leukocyte infiltration, oxidative processes, and tissue damage after spinal cord injury

Feng Bao, Jennifer C. Fleming, Roozbeh Golshani, Damien D. Pearse, Levent Kasabov, Arthur Brown, Lynne C. Weaver

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

24 Scopus citations


We tested the hypothesis that a selective phosphodiesterase type 4 inhibitor (PDE4-I; IC486051) would attenuate early inflammatory and oxidative processes following spinal cord injury (SCI) when delivered during the first 3 days after injury. Rats receiving a moderately severe thoracic-clip-compression SCI were treated with the PDE4-I (0.5, 1.0, and 3.0 mg/kg IV) in bolus doses from 2-60 h post-injury. Doses at 0.5 mg/kg and 1.0 mg/kg significantly decreased myeloperoxidase (MPO) enzymatic activity (neutrophils), expression of a neutrophil-associated protein and of ED-1 (macrophages), and estimates of lipid peroxidation in cord lesion homogenates at 24 h and 72 h post-injury by 25-40%. The 3.0 mg/kg dose had small or no effects on these measures. The PDE4-I treatment (0.5 or 1.0 mg/kg) reduced expression of the oxidative enzymes gp91phox, inducible nitric oxide synthase, and cyclooxygenase-2, and diminished free radical generation by up to 40%. Treatment with 0.5 mg/kg PDE4-I improved motor function (as assessed by the Basso-Beattie-Bresnahan scale) significantly from 4-8 weeks after SCI (average difference 1.3 points). Mechanical allodynia elicited from the hindpaw decreased by up to 25%. The PDE4-I treatment also increased white matter volume near the lesion at 8 weeks after SCI. In conclusion, the PDE4-I reduced key markers of oxidative stress and leukocyte infiltration, producing cellular protection, locomotor improvements, and a reduction in neuropathic pain. Early inhibition of PDE4 is neuroprotective after SCI when given acutely and briefly at sufficient doses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1035-1049
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of neurotrauma
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2011



  • free radical
  • IC486051
  • inflammation
  • lipid peroxidation
  • phosphodiesterase type 4 inhibitor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology

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