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Valproic acid (VPA) is an anti-convulsant drug that is recently shown to have neuroregenerative therapeutic actions. In this study, we investigate the underlying molecular mechanism of VPA and its effects on Bdnf transcription through microRNAs (miRNAs) and their corresponding target proteins. Using in silico algorithms, we predicted from our miRNA microarray and iTRAQ data that miR-124 is likely to target at guanine nucleotide binding protein alpha inhibitor 1 (GNAI1), an adenylate cyclase inhibitor. With the reduction of GNAI1 mediated by VPA, the cAMP is enhanced to increase Bdnf expression. The levels of GNAI1 protein and Bdnf mRNA can be manipulated with either miR-124 mimic or inhibitor. In summary, we have identified a novel molecular mechanism of VPA that induces miR-124 to repress GNAI1. The implication of miR-124→GNAI1→BDNF pathway with valproic acid treatment suggests that we could repurpose an old drug, valproic acid, as a clinical application to elevate neurotrophin levels in treating neurodegenerative diseases. Copyright © 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.. All rights reserved.


Hirotaka Oikawa, Wilson W B Goh, Vania K J Lim, Limsoon Wong, Judy C G Sng. Valproic acid mediates miR-124 to down-regulate a novel protein target, GNAI1. Neurochemistry international. 2015 Dec;91:62-71

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PMID: 26519098

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