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Role of Histone Acetylation in the Stimulatory Effect of Valproic Acid on Vascular Endothelial Tissue-Type Plasminogen Activator Expression

Public Library of Science
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0031573
  • Research Article
  • Biology
  • Genetics
  • Epigenetics
  • Gene Expression
  • Molecular Cell Biology
  • Cellular Types
  • Medicine
  • Anatomy And Physiology
  • Cardiovascular System
  • Cardiovascular
  • Biology
  • Pharmacology


Aims Stimulated release of tissue-type plasminogen activator (t-PA) is pivotal for an intravascular fibrinolytic response and protects the circulation from occluding thrombosis. Hence, an impaired t-PA production is associated with increased risk for atherothrombotic events. A pharmacological means to stimulate the production of this enzyme may thus be desirable. We investigated if the anti-epileptic drug valproic acid (VPA) is capable of enhancing t-PA expression in vitro in vascular endothelial cells, and further examined if its histone deacetylase (HDAC)-inhibitory activity is of importance for regulating t-PA expression. Methods and Results Human endothelial cells were exposed to valproic acid and t-PA mRNA and protein levels were quantified. Potential changes in histone acetylation status globally and at the t-PA promoter were examined by western blot and chromatin immunoprecipitation. Valproic acid dose-dependently stimulated t-PA mRNA and protein expression in endothelial cells reaching a 2–4-fold increase at clinically relevant concentrations and 10-fold increase at maximal concentrations. Transcription profiling analysis revealed that t-PA is selectively targeted by this agent. Augmented histone acetylation was detected at the t-PA transcription start site, and an attenuated VPA-response was observed with siRNA knock of HDAC3, HDAC5 and HDAC7. Conclusions Valproic acid induces t-PA expression in cultured endothelial cells, and this is associated with increased histone acetylation at the t-PA promoter. Given the apparent potency of valproic acid in stimulating t-PA expression in vitro this substance may be a candidate for pharmacological modulation of endogenous fibrinolysis in man.

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