Advancements in phosphodiesterase (PDE)-targeted therapies have shown promise in recent years for treating patients with a variety of autoimmune diseases. This review summarizes the development of PDE4 inhibitors and the associated literature with a focus on treatments for autoimmune diseases. After the initial investigations of the prototypic PDE inhibitor, rolipram, more selective inhibitors targeting the PDE4 isozyme have been developed. With phase II and phase III clinical trials currently underway to evaluate the safety and efficacy of the latest generation of PDE4 inhibitors, namely apremilast, a new class of treatments may be around the corner for patients suffering from chronic, autoimmune diseases.
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