NIH-Funded Mouse Study Sheds Light on Neural Risks Associated With Prenatal Alcohol Exposure


Prenatal exposure to even low doses of alcohol may lead to severe and highly variable deficits in the brain of a fetus, according to a new study conducted in mice. Researchers report that the unpredictable nature of the deficits may be due to inconsistencies in how fetal brain cells activate a protective response to alcohol and other harmful compounds. The new findings may help explain the range of behavioral and learning deficits and other symptoms observed in individuals with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) and other congenital brain disorders. The study, supported by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), part of the National Institutes of Health, is now online in Nature Communications. FASD is an umbrella term for a range of effects caused by prenatal alcohol exposure. Individuals with FASD may experience growth retardation, facial abnormalities, and organ damage, including to the brain, which can result in a...

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