Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Specific Genetic Cause Of Fetal Alcohol-related Developmental Disorders Found

Date:
June 19, 2009
Source:
The Endocrine Society
Summary:
Alcohol consumption by pregnant women hinders brain development in their children by interfering with the genetic processes that control thyroid hormone levels in the fetal brain, a new animal study found.

Alcohol consumption by pregnant women hinders brain development in their children by interfering with the genetic processes that control thyroid hormone levels in the fetal brain, a new animal study found.

Results will be presented Wednesday at The Endocrine Society's 91st Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C.

Fetal alcohol exposure—even from moderate drinking during pregnancy—can cause neurodevelopmental disorders, such as emotional behavioral disorders and deficits in learning, memory and speech. There is currently no treatment for these problems, said the author who will present the study results, Laura Sittig, a student at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

Past animal research shows that some of these lasting cognitive impairments occur because alcohol consumption during pregnancy decreases the level of maternal thyroid hormones and, therefore, fetal thyroid hormones.

"Specific concentrations of thyroid hormones must be available in the fetal brain to support normal neurological development," Sittig said.

One of the enzymes that control thyroid hormone levels in the fetal brain is the iodothyronine deiodinase type III, or Dio3, she explained.

Sittig and her colleagues hypothesized that alcohol exposure in the womb leads to cognitive impairments by inducing epigenetic alterations—changes to DNA that do not alter the actual DNA sequence—of developmental genes like Dio3 in the fetal brain. To investigate this hypothesis, they used rats to model moderate alcohol consumption during pregnancy.

The study, which was funded by the National Institutes of Health, demonstrated that fetal alcohol exposure disrupts the epigenetic "imprinting" of Dio3. In this process, Dio3 normally originates from the father's gene, while the maternal gene is silenced by epigenetic control. But alcohol exposure changes the paternal-maternal dosage of Dio3, which increases the amount of the enzyme present in specific brain regions of the fetus, the authors found.

This increase, in turn, reduces the availability of vital thyroid hormones in the parts of the brain that control learning, memory and emotional behaviors.

"In light of our current finding, we can begin testing specific dietary supplements that could reverse the epigenetic alterations that disrupt the regulation of Dio3," Sittig said. "When given to the mother or newborn, this might correct the imprinting deficits induced by alcohol."

"This is a promising avenue to improve the prognosis of alcohol-related neurodevelopmental disorders, for which we currently have no intervention strategy," she said.

The study was conducted in the laboratory of Eva Redei, PhD, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, who was the lead faculty member for the work.


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

The Endocrine Society. "Specific Genetic Cause Of Fetal Alcohol-related Developmental Disorders Found." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 June 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090610124426.htm>.
The Endocrine Society. (2009, June 19). Specific Genetic Cause Of Fetal Alcohol-related Developmental Disorders Found. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090610124426.htm
The Endocrine Society. "Specific Genetic Cause Of Fetal Alcohol-related Developmental Disorders Found." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090610124426.htm (accessed September 21, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Sierra Leone's Nationwide Ebola Curfew Underway

Sierra Leone's Nationwide Ebola Curfew Underway

Newsy (Sep. 20, 2014) — Sierra Leone is locked down as aid workers and volunteers look for new cases of Ebola. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Changes Found In Brain After One Dose Of Antidepressants

Changes Found In Brain After One Dose Of Antidepressants

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) — A study suggest antidepressants can kick in much sooner than previously thought. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) — The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

AP (Sep. 19, 2014) — A federal jury has convicted three people in connection with an outbreak of salmonella poisoning five years ago that sickened hundreds of people and was linked to a number of deaths. (Sept. 19) Video provided by AP
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