pISSN 1226-4512 eISSN 2093-3827


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Original Article

Korean J Physiol Pharmacol 2010; 14(6): 435-440

Published online December 30, 2010 https://doi.org/10.4196/kjpp.2010.14.6.435

Copyright © Korean J Physiol Pharmacol.

Neuroprotection by Valproic Acid in Mouse Models of Permanent and Transient Focal Cerebral Ischemia

Yong Ri Qian1,*, Mu-Jin Lee2,*,#, Shinae Hwang2, Ji Hyun Kook2,3, Jong-Keun Kim2, and Choon Sang Bae3

1Department of Pharmacology, School of Basic Medicine, Yanbian University, Yanji, Jilin 13300, China, Departments of 2Pharmacology, 3Anatomy, Chonnam National University Medical School, Gwangju 501-746, Korea


Valproic acid (VPA) is a well-known anti-epileptic and mood stabilizing drug. A growing number of reports demonstrate that VPA is neuroprotective against various insults. Despite intensive efforts to develop new therapeutics for stroke over the past two decades, all treatments have thus far failed to show clinical effect because of treatment-limiting side effects of the drugs. Therefore, a safety-validated drug like VPA would be an attractive candidate if it has neuroprotective effects against ischemic insults. The present study was undertaken to examine whether pre- and post-insult treatments with VPA protect against brain infarct and neurological deficits in mouse transient (tMCAO) and permanent middle cerebral artery occlusion (pMCAO) models. In the tMCAO (2 hr MCAO and 22 hr reperfusion) model, intraperitoneal injection of VPA (300 mg/kg, i.p.) 30 min prior to MCAO significantly reduced the infarct size and the neurological deficit. VPA treatment immediately after reperfusion significantly reduced the infarct size. The administration of VPA at 4 hr after reperfusion failed to reduce the infarct size and the neurological deficit. In the pMCAO model, treatment with VPA (300 mg/kg, i.p.) 30 min prior to MCAO significantly attenuated the infarct size, but did not affect the neurological deficit. Western blot analysis of acetylated H3 and H4 protein levels in extracts from the ischemic cortical area showed that treatment with VPA increased the expression of acetylated H3 and H4 at 2 hrs after MCAO. These results demonstrated that treatment with VPA prior to ischemia attenuated ischemic brain damage in both mice tMCAO and pMCAO models and treatment with VPA immediately after reperfusion reduced the infarct area in the tMCAO model. VPA could therefore be evaluated for clinical use in stroke patients.

Keywords: Ischemic stroke, Therapeutic time window, Drug development, Histone deacetylase inhibitor