The cAMP–protein kinase A pathway plays a central role in the development and physiology of endocrine tissues. cAMP mediates the intracellular effects of numerous peptide hormones. Various cellular and molecular alterations of the cAMP-signaling pathway have been observed in endocrine diseases.
Phosphodiesterases (PDEs) are key regulatory enzymes of intracellular cAMP levels. Indeed, PDEs are the only known mechanism for inactivation of cAMP by catalysis to 5′-AMP. It has been suggested that disruption of PDEs could also have a role in the pathogenesis of many endocrine diseases. This review summarizes the most recent advances concerning the role of the PDEs in the physiopathology of endocrine diseases. The potential significance of this knowledge can be easily envisaged by the development of drugs targeting specific PDEs.