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Valproic acid withdrawal ameliorates impairments of hippocampal-spatial working memory and neurogenesis

Pannangrong, Wanassanun, Sirichoat, Apiwat, Wongsiri, Trai, Wigmore, Peter, Welbat, Jariya Umka
Journal of Zhejiang University 2019 v.20 no.3 pp. 253-263
adults, animal models, cell division, cell proliferation, children, drug therapy, hippocampus, immunoblotting, immunohistochemistry, laboratory animals, males, memory, memory disorders, neurogenesis, neurons, patients, rats, seizures, valproic acid
Valproic acid (VPA), an agent that is used to treat epileptic seizures, can cause spatial memory impairment in adults and children. This effect is thought to be due to the ability of VPA to inhibit neurogenesis in the hippocampus, which is required for learning. We have previously used an animal model to show that VPA significantly impairs hippocampal-spatial working memory and inhibits neuronal generation in the sub-granular zone of the dentate gyrus. As there are patient reports of improvements in memory after discontinuing VPA treatment, the present study investigated the recovery of both spatial memory and hippocampal neurogenesis at two time points after withdrawal of VPA. Male Wistar rats were given intraperitoneal injections of 0.9% normal saline or VPA (300 mg/kg) twice a day for 10 d. At 1, 30, or 45 d after the drug treatment, the novel object location (NOL) test was used to examine spatial memory; hippocampal cell division was counted using Ki67 immunohistochemistry, and levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and Notch1 were measured using western immunoblotting. Spatial working memory was impaired 1 and 30 d after the final administration, but was restored to control levels by 45 d. Cell proliferation had increased to control levels at 30 and 45 d. Both markers of neurogenesis (BDNF and Notch1 levels) had returned to control levels at 45 d. These results demonstrate that memory recovery occurs over a period of six weeks after discontinuing VPA treatment and is preceded by a return of hippocampal neurogenesis to control levels.