Rapid valproic acid-induced modulation of the traumatic proteome in a porcine model of traumatic brain injury and hemorrhagic shock

Michael Weykamp, Vahagn C. Nikolian, Isabel S. Dennahy, Gerald A. Higgins, Patrick E. Georgoff, Henriette Remmer, Mohamed H. Ghandour, Hasan B. Alam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Background: Histone deacetylase inhibitors such as valproic acid (VPA) improve survival in lethal models of hemorrhagic shock and polytrauma. Although VPA is known to modulate transcription, its ability to reduce mortality within minutes of administration suggests involvement of a rapid, posttranslational mechanism. We hypothesized that VPA treatment would cause proteomic changes within minutes of treatment including quantitative and/or posttranslational differences in structural and/or effector proteins. Materials and methods: We used a porcine model of traumatic brain injury (computer-controlled cortical impact, 12 mm depth) and hemorrhagic shock (40% hemorrhage). Animals were kept in shock for 2 h and randomized to two groups (n = 3): normal saline (volume = 3:1 hemorrhage volume) or normal saline + VPA (150 mg/kg, single dose). Peripheral blood mononuclear cells were collected at baseline, postshock, and postresuscitation. Intracellular protein profiles were assessed using 1 dimensional gel electrophoresis, liquid chromatography, mass spectrometry, and analyzed with Ingenuity Pathway Analysis software. Results: Animals treated with VPA demonstrated significant proteomic changes. Quantitative differences were found in over 200 proteins including effector, regulatory, and structural proteins in critical cell signaling pathways. Posttranslational modification analysis demonstrated differential VPA-induced acetylation of lysine residues in histone and nonhistone proteins. Pathway analysis correlated these changes with significant increases in numerous prosurvival and cytoskeletal intracellular pathways, including Rho GTPase signaling (P = 1.66E-11), integrin signaling (P = 4.19E-21), and a decrease in Rho guanosine nucleotide dissociation inhibitor signaling (P = 4.83E-12). Conclusions: In a porcine model of severe injuries, a single dose of VPA is associated with protective changes in the proteome that are measurable within minutes of treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)84-92
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Surgical Research
StatePublished - Aug 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Hemorrhage
  • Histone deacetylase inhibitor
  • Posttranslational modification
  • Proteomics
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Valproic acid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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