Molecular and therapeutic potential and toxicity of valproic acid

J Biomed Biotechnol. 2010;2010:479364. doi: 10.1155/2010/479364. Epub 2010 Jul 29.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anticonvulsants / pharmacology
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Epilepsy / drug therapy
  • Histone Deacetylase Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Valproic Acid / pharmacology*
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid


  • Anticonvulsants
  • Histone Deacetylase Inhibitors
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid
  • Valproic Acid