Valproic acid-induced alterations in growth and neurotrophic factor

G. D. Bennett, B. Wlodarczyk, J. A. Calvin, J. C. Craig, R. H. Finnell*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Although the teratogenicity of valproic acid (VPA) has been well established, the mechanism(s) by which this anticonvulsant drug induces real formations remains controversial. Using the combined molecular techniques of in situ-transcription (IST) and antisense RNA (aRNA) amplification we analyzed VPA-induced alterations in the gene expression for 10 genes within the neural tubes of embryos from two murine strains that have been shown to differ in their susceptibility to VPA-induce neural tube defects (NTD). Pregnant dams from both SWV (susceptible) and LM/Bc (resistant) strains were either treated with saline (control) or VPA (600 mg/kg) on gestational day (GD) 8:12 (day:hour). Neural tubes were isolated from control or VPA exposed embryos at three gestational time points, which represented the beginning (GD 8:18), middle (GD 9:00), and end (GD 9:12) of neural tube closure (NTC) in both of these murine strains. Using univariant statistics we demonstrated that in LM/Bc embryos with NTDs, the expression of bdnf, ngf, and trk, ngf-R were significantly elevated at all three time points, and the cytokine, cntf was significantly decreased at GD 9:00. In contrast, the major gene alterations observed in SWV embryos were a significant increase in tfgα and tgfβI-3 at GD 9:00. In an effort to better define the more intricate interactions between VPA exposure and the expression of these genes, we analyzed our data using Principal Component Analysis. The results from this analysis demonstrated that embryos from these two stains behaved differently, not only in response to a VPA exposure, but also under control conditions, which may explain the multifactorial nature of NTDs in these mice. (C) 2000 Published by Elsevier Science Inc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalReproductive Toxicology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Animal model
  • Antisense RNA amplification
  • Gene expression
  • In situ- transcription
  • Neural tube defects
  • Principal Component Analysis
  • Valproic acid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology


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