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Regen Med. 2015;10(2):193-209. doi: 10.2217/rme.14.86. Epub 2014 Dec 8.

Valproic acid-mediated neuroprotection and neurogenesis after spinal cord injury: from mechanism to clinical potential.

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Department of Orthopaedics, Tianjin Medical University General Hospital, 154 Anshan Road, Heping District, Tianjin 300052, PR China.


Spinal cord injury (SCI) is difficult to treat because of secondary injury. Valproic acid (VPA) is clinically approved for mood stabilization, but also counteracts secondary damage to functionally rescue SCI in animal models by improving neuroprotection and neurogenesis via inhibition of HDAC and GSK-3. However, a comprehensive review summarizing the therapeutic benefits and mechanisms of VPA for SCI and the issues affecting clinical trials is lacking, limiting future research on VPA and impeding its translation into clinical therapy for SCI. This article presents the current status of VPA treatment for SCI, emphasizing interactions between enhanced neuroprotection and neurogenesis. Crucial issues are discussed to optimize its clinical potential as a safe and effective treatment for SCI.


GSK-3 inhibitor; HDAC inhibitor; animal model; clinical trial; neurogenesis; neuroprotection; secondary injury; spinal cord injury; valproic acid

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