Dose optimization of valproic acid in a lethal model of traumatic brain injury, hemorrhage, and multiple trauma in swine

Ben E. Biesterveld, Aaron M. Williams, Manjunath P. Pai, Isabel S. Dennahy, Nathan J. Graham, Kiril Chtraklin, Ali Z. Siddiqui, Rachel L. O'Connell, Umar F. Bhatti, Baoling Liu, Rachel M. Russo, Yongqing Li, Hasan B. Alam*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Trauma is a leading cause of death, and traumatic brain injury is one of the hallmark injuries of current military conflicts. Valproic acid (VPA) administration in high doses (300-400 mg/kg) improves survival in lethal trauma models, but effectiveness of lower doses on survival is unknown. This information is essential for properly designing the upcoming clinical trials. We, therefore, performed the current study to determine the lowest dose at which VPA administration improves survival in a model of lethal injuries. METHODS: Swine were subjected to traumatic brain injury (10-mm cortical impact), 40% blood volume hemorrhage, and multiple trauma (femur fracture, rectus crush, and Grade V liver laceration). After 1 hour of shock, animals were randomized (n = 6/group) to four groups: normal saline (NS) resuscitation; or NS with VPA doses of 150 mg/kg (VPA 150) or 100 mg/kg (VPA 100) administered over 3 hours or 100 mg/kg over 2 hours (VPA 100 over 2 hours). Three hours after shock, packed red blood cells were given, and animals were monitored for another 4 hours. Survival was assessed using Kaplan-Meier and log-rank test. RESULTS: Without resuscitation, all of the injured animals died within 5 hours. Similar survival rates were observed in the NS (17%) and VPA 100 (0%) resuscitation groups. Survival rates in the 100-mg/kg VPA groups were significantly (p < 0.05) better when it was given over 2 hours (67%) compared to 3 hours (0%). 83% of the animals in the VPA 150 group survived, which was significantly higher than the NS and VPA 100 over 3 hours groups (p < 0.05). CONCLUSION: A single dose of VPA (150 mg/kg) significantly improves survival in an otherwise lethal model of multiple injuries. This is a much lower dose than previously shown to have a survival benefit and matches the dose that is tolerated by healthy human subjects with minimal adverse effects. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Therapeutic, level V.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1133-1139
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 1 2019


  • Histone deacetylase inhibitor
  • Shock
  • Trauma
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Valproic acid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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