The effects of roflumilast, a phosphodiesterase type-4 (PDE4) inhibitor, on EEG biomarkers in schizophrenia

James Gilleen, Judith Nottage, Farah Yakub, Sarah Kerins, Lorena Valdearenas, Tolga Uz, Gez Lahu, Max Tsai, Frank Ogrinc, Steve Williams, Dominic Ffytche, Mitul Mehta, Sukhi Shergill

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Patients with schizophrenia have significant cognitive deficits, which may profoundly impair quality of life. These deficits are also observable at the neurophysiological level with patients demonstrating impaired Event Related Potentials (ERPs) in, for example, Auditory Oddball (Mismatch negativity (MMN), P300 and Auditory Steady State Response (ASSR) paradigms compared to healthy controls. However, currently there are no approved pharmacological treatments for these or other cognitive deficits in schizophrenia.
Using a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover design study in 18 patients with schizophrenia, the effect of the PDE4 inhibitor, Roflumilast (100µg and 250µg) - which has a beneficial effect on cognition - on MMN, P300 and ASSR ERPs, and working memory-related theta oscillations (3.5-7 Hz) was investigated. Patients underwent EEG recordings during cognitive task administration. Fifteen patients completed all sessions.
250µg of Roflumilast significantly enhanced the amplitude of both the MMN (p=0.04) and the amplitude of working memory-related theta oscillations (p=0.02) compared to placebo.
These results point to the potential of PDE4 inhibitors as a treatment for cognitive deficits in schizophrenia, and also underline the utility of EEG to assay cognitive biomarkers in experimental medicine studies.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusSubmitted - 25 Feb 2019

Cite this

Gilleen, J., Nottage, J., Yakub, F., Kerins, S., Valdearenas, L., Uz, T., Lahu, G., Tsai, M., Ogrinc, F., Williams, S., Ffytche, D., Mehta, M., & Shergill, S. (2019). The effects of roflumilast, a phosphodiesterase type-4 (PDE4) inhibitor, on EEG biomarkers in schizophrenia. Manuscript submitted for publication.