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Epilepsy Drug May Someday Be Used To Treat Fatty Liver Disease, Metabolic Disorders

January 29, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
An anticonvulsant drug commonly prescribed to treat epilepsy may someday be used to reduce fat accumulation in the liver and control blood sugar levels. Valproic acid (Depakote), tested in obese mice, activates a protein (AMPK) previously shown to be a good drug target for treating type 2 diabetes and obesity. They found that valproic acid activates AMPK in mouse and human liver cells in a dose-dependent way. Further research found that the byproducts of valproic acid metabolism, as opposed to valproic acid itself, were the molecules activating AMPK. “That's a desirable quality if you want to eventually use it to treat people," the U.S.researchers noted.
L. B. Avery et al., "Valproic Acid Is a Novel Activator of AMP-Activated Protein Kinase and Decreases Liver Mass, Hepatic Fat Accumulation, and Serum Glucose in Obese Mice", Molecular Pharmacology, January 29, 2014, © The American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics
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