Myocardial Phosphodiesterases and Their Role in cGMP Regulation

Brittany Dunkerly-Eyring, David A. Kass

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Cyclic nucleotide phosphodiesterases comprise an 11-member superfamily yielding near 100 isoform variants that hydrolyze cAMP or cGMP to their respective 5′-monophosphate form. Each plays a role in compartmentalized cyclic nucleotide signaling, with varying selectivity for each substrate, and conveying cell and intracellular-specific localized control. This review focuses on the 5 phosphodiesterases (PDEs) expressed in the cardiac myocyte capable of hydrolyzing cGMP and that have been shown to play a role in cardiac physiological and pathological processes. PDE1, PDE2, and PDE3 catabolize cAMP as well, whereas PDE5 and PDE9 are cGMP selective. PDE3 and PDE5 are already in clinical use, the former for heart failure, and PDE1, PDE9, and PDE5 are all being actively studied for this indication in patients. Research in just the past few years has revealed many novel cardiac influences of each isoform, expanding the therapeutic potential from their selective pharmacological blockade or in some instances, activation. PDE1C inhibition was found to confer cell survival protection and enhance cardiac contractility, whereas PDE2 inhibition or activation induces beneficial effects in hypertrophied or failing hearts, respectively. PDE3 inhibition is already clinically used to treat acute decompensated heart failure, although toxicity has precluded its long-term use. However, newer approaches including isoform-specific allosteric modulation may change this. Finally, inhibition of PDE5A and PDE9A counter pathological remodeling of the heart and are both being pursued in clinical trials. Here, we discuss recent research advances in each of these PDEs, their impact on the myocardium, and cardiac therapeutic potential.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)483-493
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of cardiovascular pharmacology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 22 2020


  • cAMP
  • cGMP
  • contraction
  • cyclic nucleotides
  • heart
  • hypertrophy
  • myocyte
  • phosphodiesterase
  • protein kinase G
  • signal transduction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Pharmacology


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