2016 Volume 65 Issue 1 Pages 45-51
Valproic acid (VPA) is a widely used antiepileptic drug, which has recently been reported to modulate the neuronal differentiation of adipose tissue-derived stem cells (ASCs) in humans and dogs. However, controversy exists as to whether VPA really acts as an inducer of neuronal differentiation of ASCs. The present study aimed to elucidate the effect of VPA in neuronal differentiation of rat ASCs. One or three days of pretreatment with VPA (2 mM) followed by neuronal induction enhanced the ratio of immature neuron marker βIII-tubulin-positive cells in a time-dependent manner, where the majority of cells also had a positive signal for neurofilament medium polypeptide (NEFM), a mature neuron marker. RT-PCR analysis revealed increases in the mRNA expression of microtubule-associated protein 2 (MAP2) and NEFM mature neuron markers, even without neuronal induction. Three-days pretreatment of VPA increased acetylation of histone H3 of ASCs as revealed by immunofluorescence staining. Chromatin immunoprecipitation assay also showed that the status of histone acetylation at H3K9 correlated with the gene expression of TUBB3 in ASCs by VPA. These results indicate that VPA significantly promotes the differentiation of rat ASCs into neuron-like cells through acetylation of histone H3, which suggests that VPA may serve as a useful tool for producing transplantable cells for future applications in clinical treatments.