Brachial plexus root avulsion is the most serious type of peripheral nerve injury. Valproic acid has been shown to exert neuroprotective effects and promote neurite outgrowth in several peripheral nerve injury models. However, whether valproic acid can exert its beneficial effect on neurons after brachial plexus avulsion injury is currently unknown.
A recent study by Prof. Shusen Cui and team from China Japan Union Hospital, Jilin University, China showed that brachial plexus root avulsion models, established in Wistar rats, were administered daily with valproic acid dissolved in drinking water (300 mg/kg) or normal water.
On days 1, 2, 3, 7, 14 and 28 after avulsion injury, valproic acid significantly increased the expression of Bcl-2 and growth associated protein 43, and reduced the c-Jun expression after brachial plexus avulsion. These findings, published in the Neural Regeneration Research (Vol. 8, No. 30, 2013) indicate that valproic acid can protect neurons in the spinal cord and enhance neuronal regeneration following brachial plexus root avulsion.