Comparing The Effects of Small Molecules BIX-01294, Bay K8644, RG-108 and Valproic Acid, and Their Different Combinations on Induction of Pluripotency Marker-Genes by Oct4 in The Mouse Brain

Document Type : Original Article


1 Department of Physiology, Faculty of Medical Sciences, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran

2 Department of Stem Cells and Developmental Biology at Cell Science Research Center, Royan Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Technology, ACECR, Tehran, Iran

3 Department of Molecular Genetics, Faculty of Basic Sciences, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran

4 4Neuroscience Research Center, Shahid Beheshti Medical University, Tehran, Iran


Every cell type is characterized by a specific transcriptional profile together with a unique epigenetic landscape. Reprogramming factors such as Oct4, Klf4, Sox2 and c-Myc enable somatic cells to change their transcriptional profile and convert them to pluripotent cells. Small molecules such as BIX-01294, Bay K8644, RG-108 and valproic acid (VPA) are reported as effective molecules for enhancing induction of pluripotency in vitro, however, their effects during in vivo reprogramming are addressed in this experimental study.
Materials and Methods
In this experimental study, Oct4 expressing lentiviral particles and small molecules BIX-01294, Bay K8644 and RG-108 were injected into the right ventricle of mice brain and VPA was systematically administered as oral gavages. Animals treated with different combinations of small molecules for 7 or 14 days in concomitant with Oct4 exogenous expression were compared for expression of pluripotency markers. Total RNA was isolated from the rims of the injected ventricle and quantitative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) was performed to evaluate the expression of endogenous Oct4, Nanog, c-Myc, klf4 and Sox2 as pluripotency markers, and Pax6 and Sox1 as neural stem cell (NSC) markers.
Results showed that Oct4 exogenous expression for 7 days induced pluripoten- cy slightly as it was detected by significant enhancement in expression of Nanog (p < 0.05). Combinatorial administration of Oct4 expressing vector and BIX-01294, Bay K8644 and RG-108 did not affect the expression of pluripotency and NSC markers, but VPA treatment along with Oct4 exogenous expression induced Nanog, Klf4 and c-Myc (p < 0.001). VPA treatment before the induction of exogenous Oct4 was more effective and significantly increased the expression of endogenous Oct4, Nanog, Klf4, c-Myc (p < 0.01), Pax6 and Sox1 (p < 0.001).
These results suggest VPA as the best enhancer of pluripotency among the chemicals tested, especially when applied prior to pluripotency induction by Oct4.