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Neuroscience. 2012 Sep 27;221:140-50. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2012.07.013. Epub 2012 Jul 16.

Valproic acid ameliorates inflammation in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis rats.

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Institute of Immunology, Third Military Medical University of PLA, Gaotanyan Main Street 30, Chongqing 400038, People's Republic of China.


Valproic acid (VPA) is a short-chain branched fatty acid with anti-inflammatory, neuro-protective and axon remodeling effects. Here we have studied effects of VPA in gpMBP(68-84)-induced experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE). Both preventive (from Day 0 to Day 18) and therapeutic (from Day 7 to Day 18 or from Day 9 to Day 19) VPA (500 mg/kg, intra-gastric) administration to EAE rats once daily greatly reduced the severity and duration of EAE, and suppressed mRNA levels of interferon-γ (IFN-γ), tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), interleukin-1β (IL-1β) and IL-17, matrix metalloproteinase 9 (MMP9), inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) and transcription factor T-bet, but increased levels of IL-4 mRNA in EAE spinal cords. Furthermore, preventive VPA treatment greatly attenuated accumulation of macrophages and lymphocytes in EAE spinal cords. VPA treatment altered the cytokine milieu of lymph nodes, modulating the Th profile from Th1 and Th17 to a profile of Th2 and regulatory T cells. In addition, in vitro study showed that VPA inhibited non-specific lymphocyte proliferation in a dose-dependent manner. In summary, our data demonstrated that VPA could suppress systemic and local inflammation to improve outcome of EAE, suggesting that VPA might be a candidate for treatment of multiple sclerosis.

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