Cyclic nucleotide phosphodiesterases (PDEs) were investigated in cultured bovine aortic endothelial cells having two phenotypes, cobblestone and spindle, representing, respectively, the resting and angiogenic phenotypes in vivo. Spindle cell homogenates displayed higher hydrolytic activities towards cAMP (52%) and cGMP (10-fold). These increases were due to: (1) increased number of spindle PDE isozymes in the cytosolic fraction (for cAMP: PDE1, PDE2, PDE3 and PDE4 compared to PDE2 and PDE4 in cobblestone; for cGMP: PDE2 and PDE5 compared to PDE2 in cobblestone); (2) increased spindle-specific activities of cytosolic and particulate PDE2, cytosolic PDE3 and particulate PDE4. These changes were associated with an increase in spindle transcripts: 7.5 kb PDE3A (6-fold) and 7.0 kb PDE4D (3-fold). Moreover, cAMP hydrolysis in the two phenotypes was differently regulated by 5 μ M cGMP: 60% increase in total cAMP-PDE activity in cobblestone homogenate related to PDE2 stimulation; 30% decrease in spindle homogenate related to PDE3 inhibition. This underlines the roles played by PDE2, PDE3 and PDE5 in the cross-talk involving the two cyclic nucleotides. These changes in PDE isozyme expression along with the cross-talk between cAMP and cGMP may well modulate NO production and consequently might participate in angiogenesis, making PDEs potential targets to modulate angiogenesis.