Int J Oral Biol.  2010 Dec;35(4):209-214.

Effect of Valproic acid, a Histone Deacetylase Inhibitor, on the Expression of Pluripotency and Neural Crest Specific Marker Genes in Murine Multipotent Skin Precursor Cells

  • 1Cellular Reprogramming and Embryo Biotechnology Laboratory, Department of Cancer and Developmental Biology, Dental Research Institute, and CLS21, Seoul National University School of Dentistry, Seoul, Korea.


Cells that have endogenous multipotent properties can be used as a starting source for the generation of induced pluripotent cells (iPSC). In addition, small molecules associated with epigenetic reprogramming are also widely used to enhance the multi- or pluripotency of such cells. Skin-derived precursor cells (SKPs) are multipotent, sphere-forming and embryonic neural crest-related precursor cells. These cells can be isolated from a juvenile or adult mammalian dermis. SKPs are also an efficient starting cell source for reprogramming and the generation of iPSCs because of the high expression levels of Sox2 and Klf4 in these cells as well as their endogenous multipotency. In this study, valproic acid (VPA), a histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitor, was tested in the generation of iPSCs as a potential enhancer of the reprogramming potential of SKPs. SKPs were isolated from the back skins of 5-6 week old C57BL/6 X DBA/2 F1 mice. After passage 3, the SKPs was treated with 2 mM of VPA and the quantitative real time RT-PCR was performed to quantify the expression of Oct4 and Klf4 (pluripotency specific genes), and Snai2 and Ngfr (neural crest specific genes). The results show that Oct4 and Klf4 expression was decreased by VPA treatment. However, there were no significant changes in neural crest specific gene expression following VPA treatment. Hence, although VPA is one of the most potent of the HDAC inhibitors, it does not enhance the reprogramming of multipotent skin precursor cells in mice.


valproic acid; induced pluripotent stem cell; reprogramming
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