Neuroprotective effects of valproic acid on brain ischemia are related to its HDAC and GSK3 inhibitions

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Valproic acid (VA) is an antiepileptic that is also used for the treatment of bipolar disorders. The objective was to evaluate the neuroprotective effects of VA on a brain ischemia model. The groups of male Wistar rats were: SO (sham-operated), ischemic and ischemic treated with VA (25, 50 and 100mg/kg, p.o.). After anesthesia with ketamine and xilazine, the animals were subjected to clamping of carotid arteries (30min) and reperfusion. Except for the carotid clamping, the SO group was submitted to the same procedure. On the 7th day, the animals were behaviorally evaluated, euthanized and had their brain dissected for neurochemical and immunohistochemical assays. The data were analyzed by ANOVA and Tukey as the post hoc test. The results showed that VA reversed partly or completely the behavioral (locomotor activity and memory deficits), neurochemical (striatal DA and DOPAC levels, brain nitrite and lipid peroxidation) and immunohistochemical alterations (iNOS, COX-2, HDAC and GSK3) observed in the untreated ischemic group. VA neuroprotective effects are probably related to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, as well as to HDAC and GSK3 inhibitory effects. These findings stimulate translational studies focusing on VA as a neuroprotective drug to be potentially used in the clinic for several neurological conditions.

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