Valproic acid (VPA) is used to treat epilepsy, bipolar disorder and migraine, but its mechanism of action is not well understood. Chang et al. use Dictyostelium to uncover a previously unidentified ability of VPA to decrease cellular phosphoinositide levels. Testing related compounds identifies several medium-chain fatty acids that have a more potent effect. Two of these are more effective than VPA at suppressing a correlate of seizure in an in vitro assay involving rat hippocampal slices. These new data might help to develop improved therapies for conditions that VPA is currently used to treat. Page 115
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