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Neuropharmacology. 2013 Dec;75:106-15. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropharm.2013.07.015. Epub 2013 Aug 2.

Differential regulation of Bdnf expression in cortical neurons by class-selective histone deacetylase inhibitors.

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  • 1Department of Gene Technology, Tallinn University of Technology, Akadeemia tee 15, 12618 Tallinn, Estonia. Electronic address:
  • 2Department of Gene Technology, Tallinn University of Technology, Akadeemia tee 15, 12618 Tallinn, Estonia. Electronic address:


Histone deactylase (HDAC) inhibitors show promise as therapeutics for neurodegenerative and psychiatric diseases. Increased expression of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) has been associated with memory-enhancing and neuroprotective properties of these drugs, but the mechanism of BDNF induction is not well understood. Here, we compared the effects of a class I/IIb selective HDAC inhibitor SAHA, a class I selective inhibitor MS-275, a class II selective inhibitor MC1568 and a HDAC6 selective inhibitor tubacin on Bdnf mRNA expression in rat primary neurons. We show that inhibition of class II HDACs resulted in rapid upregulation of Bdnf mRNA levels, whereas class I HDAC inhibition produced a markedly delayed Bdnf induction. In contrast to relatively slow upregulation of Bdnf transcripts, histone acetylation at BDNF promoters I and IV was rapidly induced by SAHA. Bdnf induction by SAHA and MS-275 at 24 h was sensitive to protein synthesis inhibition, suggesting that delayed Bdnf induction by HDAC inhibitors is secondary to changed expression of its regulators. HDAC4 and HDAC5 repressed Bdnf promoter IV activity, supporting the role of class II HDACs in regulation of Bdnf expression. In addition, we show a critical role for the cAMP/Ca2+ response element (CRE) in induction of Bdnf promoter IV by MS-275, MC1568, SAHA and sodium valproate. In contrast, MEF2-binding CaRE1 element was not necessary for promoter IV induction by HDAC inhibition. Finally, we show that similarly to Bdnf, the studied HDAC inhibitors differentially induced expression of neuronal activity-regulated genes c-fos and Arc. Together, our findings implicate class II HDACs in transcriptional regulation of Bdnf and indicate that class II selective HDAC inhibitors may have potential as therapeutics for nervous system disorders.

Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.



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