Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Frogs Reveal Clues About The Effects Of Alcohol During Development

Date:
April 13, 2009
Source:
The Company of Biologists
Summary:
Alcohol can cause severe birth defects characteristic of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder or fetal alcohol syndrome, but why these abnormalities occur is remains a mystery. Researchers have used frog embryos to show that alcohol steals away molecules needed for normal development and uses them for its own detoxification, causing cellular disorientation during a critical period of growth.

Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) and Fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) cause malformations in babies, including facial defects, short stature, and mental and behavioral abnormalities. The African frog, Xenopus, is a valuable tool for understanding early vertebrate development since these embryos are large, easy to work with and very responsive to environmental cues. New research uses this system to address the mechanism underlying the characteristics associated with maternal consumption of alcohol in early pregnancy.

Alcohol consumption prevents normal development by inhibiting the production of retinoic acid. Under normal conditions, the levels of retinoic acid made in different areas of the embryo provide cells with necessary information about their proper location and fate. Researchers now show that alcohol steals away the molecules that make retinoic acid and use them for its own process of detoxification, resulting in cellular disorientation during a critical period of development.

The new study, published in Disease Models & Mechanisms (DMM), provides evidence that the characteristics associated with FASD and FAS come from competition of alcohol for key molecules in a pathway that produce retinoic acid from vitamin A. Retinoic acid is needed for correct positioning of cells in developing embryos and by preventing its normal production, alcohol keeps cells from migrating to their correct positions and maturing properly.

The researchers, at the Hebrew University in Israel, found that shutting down a molecule needed to produce retinoic acid, called retinaldehyde dehydrogenase or RALDH2, increased sensitivity of developing embryos to low doses of alcohol. Conversely, more of the molecule RALDH2 protected embryos from the negative effects of alcohol. This provides evidence that alcohol 'hijacks' RALDH2 molecules for its own breakdown process and steals it away from its important role in synthesizing positional and maturation cues during development.

The report was written by Hadas Kot-Leibovich and Abraham Fainsod at the Hebrew University in Israel. The report is published in the May/June 2009 issue of the research journal Disease Models & Mechanisms (DMM), published by The Company of Biologists, a non-profit based organization in Cambridge, UK.

 


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by The Company of Biologists. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Hadas Kot-Leibovich, Abraham Fainsod. Ethanol induces embryonic malformations by competing for retinaldehyde dehydrogenase activity during vertebrate gastrulation. Disease Models & Mechanisms, 2009; DOI: 10.1242/dmm.001420

Cite This Page:

The Company of Biologists. "Frogs Reveal Clues About The Effects Of Alcohol During Development." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 April 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090406072910.htm>.
The Company of Biologists. (2009, April 13). Frogs Reveal Clues About The Effects Of Alcohol During Development. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090406072910.htm
The Company of Biologists. "Frogs Reveal Clues About The Effects Of Alcohol During Development." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090406072910.htm (accessed April 18, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, April 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) — The breakthrough could mean a cure for some serious diseases and even the possibility of human cloning, but it's all still a way off. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups

Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups

AP (Apr. 17, 2014) — President Barack Obama gave a briefing Thursday announcing 8 million people have signed up under the Affordable Care Act. He blasted continued Republican efforts to repeal the law. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) — A recent study links apathetic feelings to a smaller brain. Researchers say the results indicate a need for apathy screening for at-risk seniors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) — A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins