Phosphodiesterases (PDEs) are enzymes that degrade intracellular cAMP. In the present study, 3-isobutyl-1-methylxanthine (IBMX) and pentoxifylline, PDE inhibitors, induced osteoclast formation in cocultures of mouse bone marrow cells and calvarial osteoblasts. These inhibitors induced the expression of the osteoclast differentiation factor, TNF-related activation induced cytokine (TRANCE, identical to RANKL, ODF, and OPGL), in calvarial osteoblasts. IBMX induced phosphorylation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) and p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) in osteoblasts. Induction of TRANCE expression by IBMX was partially suppressed by the inhibitors of protein kinase A (PKA), ERK, and p38 MAPK, suggesting that activation of ERK and p38 MAPK, as well as PKA, is involved in TRANCE expression by IBMX. Osteoblasts expressed PDE4, a PDE subtype, and rolipram, a selective inhibitor of PDE4, induced TRANCE expression. These results suggest that PDE4 is a key regulator of TRANCE expression in osteoblasts, which in turn controls osteoclast formation.