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Acta Neuropathol. 2001 Jan;101(1):22-6.

Prenatal exposure to ethanol induces leptomeningeal heterotopia in the cerebral cortex of the rat fetus.

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Department of Anatomy, University of Tokushima School of Medicine, Japan.


Pregnant rats were fed an ethanol-containing liquid diet between gestational day (GD) 10 and GD 21. Leptomeningeal heterotopias were observed in the cerebral cortex of ethanol-exposed fetuses. They appeared on the brain surface of the lateral cortical region near the rhinal fissure, and were found more numerously in the rostral than the caudal region. These abnormalities contained certain neuronal perikarya, microtubule-associated protein (MAP) 1b-positive neuronal processes, and Rat-401-positive radial glial fibers. Immunostaining for Rat-401 revealed that the heterotopias protruded through breaches in the glia limitans. In adult rats exposed to ethanol prenatally, the heterotopias persisted in the lateral cortical region. We conclude that prenatal exposure to ethanol might induce defects in the glia limitans, resulting in the genesis of leptomeningeal heterotopias. These abnormalities may be related to mental retardation or the cognitive deficits associated with human fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS).

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