Background: PDE4 cyclic nucleotide phosphodiesterases regulate 3', 5' cAMP abundance in the CNS and thereby regulate PKA activity and phosphorylation of CREB, which has been implicated in learning and memory, depression and other functions. The PDE4 isoform PDE4B1 also interacts with the DISC1 protein, implicated in neural development and behavioral disorders. The cellular functions of PDE4B1 have been investigated extensively, but its function(s) in the intact organism remained unexplored. Results: To specifically disrupt PDE4B1, we developed mice that express a PDE4B1-D564A transgene in the hippocampus and forebrain. The transgenic mice showed enhanced phosphorylation of CREB and ERK1/2 in hippocampus. Hippocampal neurogenesis was increased in the transgenic mice. Hippocampal electrophysiological studies showed increased baseline synaptic transmission and enhanced LTP in male transgenic mice. Behaviorally, male transgenic mice showed increased activity in prolonged open field testing, but neither male nor female transgenic mice showed detectable anxiety-like behavior or antidepressant effects in the elevated plus-maze, tail-suspension or forced-swim tests. Neither sex showed any significant differences in associative fear conditioning or showed any demonstrable abnormalities in pre-pulse inhibition. Conclusions: These data support the use of an isoform-selective approach to the study of PDE4B1 function in the CNS and suggest a probable role of PDE4B1 in synaptic plasticity and behavior. They also provide additional rationale and a refined approach to the development of small-molecule PDE4B1-selective inhibitors, which have potential functions in disorders of cognition, memory, mood and affect.