We have identified chemical probes that act as dual phosphodiesterase 5 (PDE5) and histone deacetylase 6 (HDAC6)-selective inhibitors (>1 log unit difference versus class I HDACs) to decipher the contribution of HDAC isoforms to the positive impact of dual-acting PDE5 and HDAC inhibitors on mouse models of Alzheimer's disease (AD) and fine-tune this systems therapeutics approach. Structure- and knowledge based approaches led to the design of first-in-class molecules with the desired target compound profile: dual PDE5 and HDAC6-selective inhibitors. Compound 44b, which fulfilled the biochemical, functional and ADME-Tox profiling requirements and exhibited adequate pharmacokinetic properties, was selected as pharmacological tool compound and tested in a mouse model of AD (Tg2576) in vivo. (C) 2018 Elsevier Masson SAS. All rights reserved.