Intestinal absorption of vitamin C in humans is mediated via the sodium-dependent vitamin C transporters (hSVCT1 and hSVCT2). hSVCT1 and hSVCT2 are localized at the apical and basolateral membranes, respectively, of polarized intestinal epithelia. Studies have identified low plasma levels of vitamin C and decreased expression of hSVCT1 in patients with several inflammatory conditions including inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Investigating the underlying mechanisms responsible for regulating hSVCT1 expression are critical for understanding vitamin C homeostasis, particularly in conditions where suboptimal vitamin C levels detrimentally affect human health. Previous research has shown that hSVCT1 expression is regulated at the transcriptional level, however, little is known about epigenetic regulatory pathways that modulate hSVCT1 expression in the intestine. In this study, we found that hSVCT1 expression and function were significantly decreased in intestinal epithelial cells by the histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDACi), valproic acid (VPA) and sodium butyrate (NaB). Further, expression of transcription factor HNF1α, which is critical for SLC23A1 promoter activity, was significantly down regulated in VPA-treated cells. Chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) assays showed significantly increased enrichment of tetra-acetylated histone H3 and H4 within the SLC23A1 promoter following VPA treatment. In addition, knockdown of HDAC isoforms 2 and 3 significantly decreased hSVCT1 functional expression. Following VPA administration to mice, functional expression of SVCT1 in the jejunum was significantly decreased. Collectively, these in vitro and in vivo studies demonstrate epigenetic regulation of SVCT1 expression in intestinal epithelia partly mediated through HDAC isoforms 2 and 3.
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