Valproate protects the retina from endoplasmic reticulum stress-induced apoptosis after ischemia-reperfusion injury

Zhenzhen Zhang, Niantin Tong, Yuanyuan Gong, Qinghua Qiu, Lili Yin, Xiuhong Lv, Xingwei Wu
Neuroscience Letters 2011 October 24, 504 (2): 88-92
Valproate (VPA) is commonly used in the treatment of bipolar disorder and epilepsy. The mechanism underlying its clinical efficacy is complicated, including its ability to inhibit histone deacetylase (HDAC). Here, we show that VPA promoted endoplasmic reticulum (ER) chaperone expression and attenuated ER-induced apoptosis after ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) injury in retina. Male Wistar rats were randomly divided into four groups: sham (group A), sham+VPA (group B), I/R+vehicle (group C), and I/R+VPA (group D). VPA was administered subcutaneously at 300mg/kg twice daily before insult. Morphological changes were analyzed on stained histological sections and flat-mounted retinas labeled by Fluoro-gold. Western blot analysis was used to determine protein levels of GRP78, CHOP, caspase-12 and acetylation of histone H3 in each group. In group C, the severe retinal damage was shown in histological sections, however, the damage was reduced by VPA in group D. Significant loss of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) was observed in group C, whereas, the density of RGCs was significantly higher in group D at 7days post-insult. VPA increased GRP78 expression and acetylation of histone H3, attenuated upregulation of CHOP and activation of caspase-12 in group D. Our results suggest that VPA can protect ischemic retinas from ER stress-induced apoptosis by mechanisms that may involve HDAC inhibition.

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