Valproic acid (VPA) is a powerful antiepileptic drug that was associated with several neurological and hepatic problems especially with increasing its dose and duration. These problems may be metabolic in origin and related to glucose homeostasis. So, the present study investigated the effect of different doses and durations of VPA on the expression of glucose transporters (Glut1 and Glut4), oxidative stress and inflammatory cytokine (IL-6) in the liver and specific brain regions. Seventy-two male Sprague-Dawley rats were randomly allocated into three equal groups: (1) saline group, (2) 200 mg VPA group and (3) 400 mg VPA group. By the end of experiments, the expressions of Glut1, Glut4 nuclear factor erythroid-like 2 related factor (Nrf2), IL-6 and oxidative stress markers [malondialdehyde (MDA) and glutathione (GSH)] in the liver, corpus striatum, prefrontal cortex (PFC) and cerebellum were assessed. We found that administration of VPA (200 mg and 400 mg) caused a significant decrease in the Glut1 and Glut4 expression in different tissues in a dose- and time-dependent manner (P < 0.01). Also, VPA (200 and 400 mg) caused a significant increase in MDA with a decrease in GSH in tissues at different times. Moreover, VPA (200 and 400 mg) caused significant upregulation in IL-6 expression and downregulation in Nrf2 expression (P < 0.01). The results suggest that increasing the dose and time of VPA therapy downregulates Glut1 and Glut4 in the liver and brain which may impair glucose uptake in these tissues. This effect was associated with enhanced oxidative stress, downregulation of nrf2 and upregulation of IL-6 in liver and brain tissues.
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