Valproic acid induces antioxidant effects in X-linked adrenoleukodystrophy
Mandel, Jean Louis
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X-linked adrenoleukodystrophy (X-ALD) is a fatal, axonal demyelinating, neurometabolic disease. It results from the functional loss of a member of the peroxisomal ATP-binding cassette transporter subfamily D (ABCD1), which is involved in the metabolism of very long-chain fatty acids (VLCFA). Oxidative damage of proteins caused by excess of the hexacosanoic acid, the most prevalent VLCFA accumulating in X-ALD, is an early event in the neurodegenerative cascade. We demonstrate here that valproic acid (VPA), a widely used anti-epileptic drug with histone deacetylase inhibitor properties, induced the expression of the functionally overlapping ABCD2 peroxisomal transporter. VPA corrected the oxidative damage and decreased the levels of monounsaturated VLCFA (C26:1 n-9), but not saturated VLCFA. Overexpression of ABCD2 alone prevented oxidative lesions to proteins in a mouse model of X-ALD. A 6-month pilot trial of VPA in X-ALD patients resulted in reversion of the oxidative damage of proteins in peripheral blood mononuclear cells. Thus, we propose VPA as a promising novel therapeutic approach that warrants further clinical investigation in X-ALD.