Journal of Undergraduate Research


Nrf2, oxidative stress, valproic acid


Life Sciences


Physiology and Developmental Biology


Valproic acid (VPA) is a common drug used to treat epileptic seizures as well as bipolar disease. Over the past decade, the use of these drugs has increased dramatically as they are now being prescribed as antipsychotics, mood stabilizers, and are currently being tested as chemotherapeutics and for managing human immunodeficiency virus infection. VPA also leads to birth defects when pregnant mothers take this drug. The most prevalent of these birth defects is spina bifida, a defect resulting from improper neuronal development, leading to deformation of the spinal cord. However, because of the effectiveness of the drug for some expecting mothers, VPA therapies are unavoidable.