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Neurosci Lett. 2010 May 14;475(2):64-8. doi: 10.1016/j.neulet.2010.03.041. Epub 2010 Mar 20.

Valproic acid stimulates clusterin expression in human astrocytes: Implications for Alzheimer's disease.

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Department of Neurology, Institute of Clinical Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Eastern Finland, P.O. Box 1627, FIN-70211 Kuopio, Finland.


Clusterin is a secreted molecular chaperone, also called apolipoprotein J. Recent genetic studies have demonstrated that clusterin is a significant susceptibility gene for late-onset Alzheimer's disease (AD). Clusterin shares several properties with apolipoprotein E, a well-known risk gene for AD, i.e. they bind to amyloid-beta peptides and are present in neuritic plaques, enhance the clearance of amyloid-beta peptides in brain, and are included in lipid particles and thus regulate cholesterol traffic. Biochemical studies indicate that clusterin can prevent the progress of AD pathogenesis. We have observed earlier that histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors can induce the expression of clusterin in several neuroblastoma and glioma cell lines. Recent studies have revealed that valproic acid, a common and well-tolerated drug for epilepsy and bipolar disorders, is a potent HDAC inhibitor. In this study, we examined whether valproic acid can induce the expression of clusterin in human astrocytes. Our results demonstrated that valproic acid is a potent inducer of clusterin expression and secretion in human astrocytes at the therapeutical concentrations. Another clinically used HDAC inhibitor, the cancer drug, Vorinostat (SAHA, suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid), also robustly stimulated the expression of clusterin in human astrocytes. One could postulate that valproic acid may be able to prevent amyloid-beta aggregation in AD, as observed in transgenic AD mice, by increasing clusterin expression.

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