Valproic acid (VPA), a widely-used antiepileptic and mood stabilizing drug, causes neurodevelopmental defects in children of women exposed during pregnancy. Based on novel preliminary results generated by the researchers, it is postulated that VPA stimulates the expression of the neurotrophin, brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), by epigenetic desilencing of the BDNF gene, leading to defective brain development and consequently abnormal behavior. The goal of this research is to determine the mechanism by which fetal exposure to a clinically used agent, VPA, induces neurodevelopmental defects. This will be accomplished utilizing a novel transgenic mouse. This would enable the identification of signaling pathways that can be targeted to avoid adverse neurodevelopmental effects in pregnant women who require VPA for control of epilepsy and bipolar disorder.