The phosphodiesterase (PDE) family is a group of enzymes that catalyzes the transformation of cyclic nucleotides into 5′ nucleotides. Based on rodents, the current mammalian model of PDE distribution in the ovarian follicle predicts Pde3a in the oocyte and Pde4d in the somatic cells. Using bovine as an experimental model, the present results showed that PDE3 was the predominant PDE activity in oocytes. However, cumulus cell cAMP-PDE activity was predominantly resistant to inhibition by 3-isobutyl-methylxantine, indicating PDE8 activity (60% of total PDE activity) and a minor role for PDE4 (<5%). A total of 20% of total oocyte PDE activity was also attributed to PDE8. The PDE activity measurements in mural granulosa cells from 2 to 6 mm in diameter suggest the presence of PDE4 and PDE8. In granulosa cells from follicles >10 mm, total PDE and PDE8 activities along with PDE8A protein level were increased compared with smaller follicles. The RT-PCR experiments showed that cumulus cells expressed PDE8A, PDE8B, and PDE10A. Western blot experiments showed PDE8A, PDE8B, and PDE4D proteins in mural granulosa cells and cumulus-oocyte complexes. PDE8 inhibition using dipyridamole in a dose-dependent manner increased cAMP levels in the cumulus-oocyte complexes and delayed oocyte nuclear maturation. These results are the first to demonstrate the functional presence of PDE8 in the mammalian ovarian follicle. This challenges the recently described cell-specific expression of cAMP-PDEs in the ovarian follicle and the notion that PDE4 is the predominant granulosa/cumulus cell PDE. These findings have implications for our understanding of hormonal regulation of folliculogenesis and the potential application of PDE inhibitors as novel contraceptives.
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