Cyclophosphamide induces a severe haemorrhagic cystitis characterized by bladder overactivity. The study was conducted to examine effects of a phosphodiesterase 4 (PDE4) inhibitor rolipram on bladder overactivity in rats with cyclophosphamide treatment. 42 female Wistar rats were used. 30 rats received a single i.p. injection of cyclophosphamide, and after 72 h, bladder function was evaluated by (1) in vitro preparations of whole bladders and (2) cystometry with continuous saline infusion under urethane anesthesia. Cyclophosphamide-treatment dramatically potentiated the basal spontaneous contractions of isolated whole bladders compared to control rats. Atropine, guanethidine or suramin was ineffective on the spontaneous contractions whereas nifedipine completely abolished. Rolipram (5-80 mu M) induced a significant concentration-dependent decrease on the amplitude, frequency (contractions/min) and area under the curve of spontaneous contractions. Carbachol elicited phasic contractions superimposed on a tonic contraction. Rolipram caused a relaxation on the tonic contraction whereas it could not affect the phasic contractions induced by carbachol. In anesthetized rats, during continuous infusion cystometry, intercontraction interval was significantly shorter in cyclophosphamide-injected rats than in control rats. Rolipram at 5-40 mu M has no significant effect on the intercontraction interval and contraction pressure while it significantly decreased pressure threshold. At 80 mu M, it significantly decreased the intercontraction interval and contraction pressure. In conclusion, PDE4 inhibitor rolipram caused a significant decrease on the amplitude, frequency and area under the curve of basal spontaneous contractions in cyclophosphamide-treated rats, at doses that have no effect on the carbachol-induced phasic contractions and cystometric parameters. PDE4 inhibitors may be considered as an attractive strategy for the treatment of cyclophosphamide-induced bladder overactivity. (c) 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.