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Tissue-specific effects of valproic acid on DNA repair genes and apoptosis in postimplantation mouse embryos.

Toxicological sciences : an official journal of the Society of Toxicology (2014-06-11)
Christina Lamparter, Louise M Winn
ABSTRACT

Exposure to the anticonvulsant drug valproic acid (VPA) is associated with an increased risk of congenital malformations. Although the mechanisms contributing to its teratogenicity are poorly understood, VPA has been shown to induce DNA double strand breaks (DSB) and to increase homologous recombination in vitro. The objective of the present study was to determine whether in utero exposure to VPA alters the frequency of intrachromosomal recombination and the expression of several genes involved in DSB repair in pKZ1 mouse embryos. Pregnant pKZ1 transgenic mice (GD 9.0) were administered VPA (500 mg/kg s.c.) and embryos were extracted and microdissected into the head, heart, and trunk regions 1, 3, 6, and 24 h after injection. Quantitative PCR was used to measure the tissue-specific expression of lacZ, a surrogate measure of recombination, Xrcc4, Rad51, Brca1, and Brca2, with Western blotting used to quantify Rad51, cleaved caspase-3 and cleaved-PARP protein. Increased recombination was only observed in the embryonic head following 6-h VPA exposure. VPA had no effect on Xrcc4 expression. Rad51, Brca1, and Brca2 expression rapidly decreased in head and trunk tissues after 1-h VPA exposure, followed by a subsequent increase in all tissues, although it was generally attenuated in the head and not due to differences in endogenous levels. Cleaved caspase-3 and cleaved-PARP expression was increased in all tissues 3 h following VPA exposure. This study indicates that the tissue-specific expression of several genes involved in DSB repair is altered following exposure to VPA and may be contributing to increased apoptosis.

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