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Current Pharmaceutical Design


ISSN (Print): 1381-6128
ISSN (Online): 1873-4286

Histone Acetylation in Neurodevelopment

Author(s): Antonio Contestabile and Silvia Sintoni

Volume 19 , Issue 28 , 2013

Page: [5043 - 5050] Pages: 8

DOI: 10.2174/1381612811319280003

Price: $65


Post-translational modification of histones is a primary mechanism through which epigenetic regulation of DNA transcription does occur. Among these modifications, regulation of histone acetylation state is an important tool to influence gene expression. Epigenetic regulation of neurodevelopment contributes to the structural and functional shaping of the brain during neurogenesis and continues to impact on neural plasticity lifelong. Alterations of these mechanisms during neurodevelopment may result in later occurrence of neuropsychatric disorders. The present paper reviews and discusses available data on histone modifications, in particular histone acetylation, in neurogenesis considering results obtained in culture systems of neural progenitors as well as in in vivo studies. Possible teratogenic effects of altered histone acetylation state during development are also considered. The use during pregnancy of drugs such as valproic acid, which acts as a histone deacetylase inhibitor, may result during postnatal development in autistic-like symptoms. The effect of gestational administration of the drug has been, therefore, tested on adult hippocampal neurogenesis in animals showing behavioral impairment as a consequence of the drug administration at a specific stage of pregnancy. These experimental results show that adult neurogenesis in the hippocampal dentate gyrus is not quantitatively altered by gestational valproic acid administration. Future steps and goals of research on the role and mechanisms of histone acetylation in neurodevelopment are briefly discussed.

Keywords: Neurogenesis, histone deacetylases, neural precursors, hippocampal adult neurogenesis, valproic acid, autistic-like models.

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