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Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology
Volume 2010 (2010), Article ID 479364, 18 pages
Review Article

Molecular and Therapeutic Potential and Toxicity of Valproic Acid

Laboratoire de Biologie Moléculaire et Cellulaire du Cancer (LBMCC), “Fondation de Recherche Cancer et Sang”, Hôpital Kirchberg, Kirchberg 2540, Luxembourg

Received 7 January 2010; Revised 3 May 2010; Accepted 6 June 2010

Academic Editor: Ronald E. Baynes

Copyright © 2010 Sébastien Chateauvieux et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Valproic acid (VPA), a branched short-chain fatty acid, is widely used as an antiepileptic drug and a mood stabilizer. Antiepileptic properties have been attributed to inhibition of Gamma Amino Butyrate (GABA) transaminobutyrate and of ion channels. VPA was recently classified among the Histone Deacetylase Inhibitors, acting directly at the level of gene transcription by inhibiting histone deacetylation and making transcription sites more accessible. VPA is a widely used drug, particularly for children suffering from epilepsy. Due to the increasing number of clinical trials involving VPA, and interesting results obtained, this molecule will be implicated in an increasing number of therapies. However side effects of VPA are substantially described in the literature whereas they are poorly discussed in articles focusing on its therapeutic use. This paper aims to give an overview of the different clinical-trials involving VPA and its side effects encountered during treatment as well as its molecular properties.