Role of histone acetylation in the stimulatory effect of valproic acid on vascular endothelial tissue-type plasminogen activator expression

Pia Larsson, Erik Ulfhammer, Mia Magnusson, Niklas Bergh, Sebastian Lunke, Assam El-Osta, Robert Lindsay Medcalf, Per Arne Svensson, Lena Karlsson, Sverker Jern

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Abstract

Aims: Stimulated release of tissue-type plasminogen activator (t-PA) is pivotal for an intravascular fibrinolytic response and protects the circulation from occluding thrombosis. Hence, an impaired t-PA production is associated with increased risk for atherothrombotic events. A pharmacological means to stimulate the production of this enzyme may thus be desirable. We investigated if the anti-epileptic drug valproic acid (VPA) is capable of enhancing t-PA expression in vitro in vascular endothelial cells, and further examined if its histone deacetylase (HDAC)-inhibitory activity is of importance for regulating t-PA expression. Methods and Results: Human endothelial cells were exposed to valproic acid and t-PA mRNA and protein levels were quantified. Potential changes in histone acetylation status globally and at the t-PA promoter were examined by western blot and chromatin immunoprecipitation. Valproic acid dose-dependently stimulated t-PA mRNA and protein expression in endothelial cells reaching a 2-4-fold increase at clinically relevant concentrations and 10-fold increase at maximal concentrations. Transcription profiling analysis revealed that t-PA is selectively targeted by this agent. Augmented histone acetylation was detected at the t-PA transcription start site, and an attenuated VPA-response was observed with siRNA knock of HDAC3, HDAC5 and HDAC7. Conclusions: Valproic acid induces t-PA expression in cultured endothelial cells, and this is associated with increased histone acetylation at the t-PA promoter. Given the apparent potency of valproic acid in stimulating t-PA expression in vitro this substance may be a candidate for pharmacological modulation of endogenous fibrinolysis in man.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere31573
Number of pages9
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume7
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2012

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