Effect of valproic acid on acute lung injury in a rodent model of intestinal ischemia reperfusion

Resuscitation. 2012 Feb;83(2):243-8. doi: 10.1016/j.resuscitation.2011.07.029. Epub 2011 Aug 6.


Objectives: Acute lung injury (ALI) can develop during the course of many clinical conditions, and is associated with significant morbidity and mortality. Valproic acid (VPA), a well-known anti-epileptic drug, has been shown to have anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory effects in various ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) models. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether VPA could affect survival and development of ALI in a rat model of intestinal I/R.

Methods: Two experiments were performed. Experiment I: Male Sprague-Dawley rats (250-300 g) were subjected to intestinal ischemia (1h) and reperfusion (3h). They were randomized into 2 groups (n=7 per group) 3 min after ischemia: Vehicle (Veh) and VPA (300 mg/kg, IV). Primary end-point for this study was survival over 4h from the start of ischemia. Experiment II: The histological and biochemical effects of VPA treatment on lungs were examined 3h (1h ischemia+2h reperfusion) after intestinal I/R injury (Veh vs. VPA, n=9 per group). An objective histological score was used to grade the degree of ALI. Enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) was performed to measure serum levels of interleukins (IL-6 and 10), and lung tissue of cytokine-induced neutrophil chemoattractant (CINC) and myeloperoxidase (MPO). In addition, the activity of 8-isoprostane was analyzed for pulmonary oxidative damage.

Results: In Experiment I, 4-h survival rate was significantly higher in VPA treated animals compared to Veh animals (71.4% vs. 14.3%, p=0.006). In Experiment II, ALI was apparent in all of the Veh group animals. Treatment with VPA prevented the development of ALI, with a reduction in the histological score (3.4 ± 0.3 vs. 5.3 ± 0.6, p=0.025). Moreover, compared to the Veh control group the animals from the VPA group displayed decreased serum levels of IL-6 (952 ± 213 pg/ml vs. 7709 ± 1990 pg/ml, p=0.011), and lung tissue concentrations of CINC (1188 ± 28 pg/ml vs. 1298 ± 27 pg/ml, p<0.05), MPO activity (368 ± 23 ng/ml vs. 490 ± 29 ng/ml, p<0.05) and 8-isoprostane levels (1495 ± 221 pg/ml vs. 2191 ± 177 pg/ml, p<0.05).

Conclusion: VPA treatment improves survival and attenuates ALI in a rat model of intestinal I/R injury, at least in part, through its anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Acute Lung Injury / drug therapy*
  • Acute Lung Injury / etiology
  • Acute Lung Injury / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Intestines / blood supply
  • Male
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Reperfusion Injury / complications*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Valproic Acid / therapeutic use*


  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Valproic Acid