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Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2007 Dec;31(12):2059-64. Epub 2007 Oct 19.

Concurrent dietary administration of D-SAL and ethanol diminishes ethanol's teratogenesis.

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  • 1Bowles Center for Alcohol Studies, Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27599, USA.



SAL (SALLRSIPA) is a peptide fragment of activity-dependent neurotrophic factor. Both L- and D-SAL diminish ethanol's pathogenesis, however, the D-peptide is protease resistant, and can therefore be effectively administered in a diet. The present study tested the hypothesis that D-SAL provided in a liquid diet containing ethanol will prevent ethanol-induced teratogenicity in mice.


Following an ethanol acclimation period, female C57Bl/6J mice were withdrawn from the ethanol, bred, and then returned during gestational days (GD) 7 and 8 to a control liquid diet or one containing 4.8% ethanol alone or in combination with 5.6 microg/ml D-SAL. At these doses, the mice received approximately 75 microg of D-SAL on each day and achieved peak blood-alcohol concentrations on GD 8 that ranged from 148-162 mg/dl. On GD 14, the fetuses were examined for the presence of ocular abnormalities including microphthalmia and irregularly shaped pupils, teratogenic effects known to result from this ethanol exposure paradigm.


Dietary D-SAL reduced the incidence of ocular defects in ethanol-exposed fetuses from 29 to 10% in the right eyes and from 21 to 7.5% in the left eyes; levels similar to those observed in pair-fed controls. In addition to decreasing their incidence, D-SAL also reduced the severity of the ocular defects.


These results demonstrate that oral D-SAL can prevent ethanol-induced ocular defects. Because ocular defects are commonly associated with CNS damage, oral D-SAL may also prove valuable in preventing ethanol-induced brain defects.

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