Therapeutic application of histone deacetylase inhibitors for central nervous system disorders

Nat Rev Drug Discov. 2008 Oct;7(10):854-68. doi: 10.1038/nrd2681.


Histone deacetylases (HDACs)--enzymes that affect the acetylation status of histones and other important cellular proteins--have been recognized as potentially useful therapeutic targets for a broad range of human disorders. Pharmacological manipulations using small-molecule HDAC inhibitors--which may restore transcriptional balance to neurons, modulate cytoskeletal function, affect immune responses and enhance protein degradation pathways--have been beneficial in various experimental models of brain diseases. Although mounting data predict a therapeutic benefit for HDAC-based therapy, drug discovery and development of clinical candidates face significant challenges. Here, we summarize the current state of development of HDAC therapeutics and their application for the treatment of human brain disorders such as Rubinstein-Taybi syndrome, Rett syndrome, Friedreich's ataxia, Huntington's disease and multiple sclerosis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Central Nervous System Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Central Nervous System Diseases / enzymology*
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / chemistry
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Histone Deacetylase Inhibitors*
  • Histone Deacetylases / metabolism
  • Humans


  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Histone Deacetylase Inhibitors
  • Histone Deacetylases