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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011 Mar 8;108(10):4212-7. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1100903108. Epub 2011 Feb 22.

Combined transcriptome analysis of fetal human and mouse cerebral cortex exposed to alcohol.

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Department of Neurobiology and Kavli Institute for Neuroscience, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06510, USA.


Fetal exposure to environmental insults increases the susceptibility to late-onset neuropsychiatric disorders. Alcohol is listed as one of such prenatal environmental risk factors and known to exert devastating teratogenetic effects on the developing brain, leading to complex neurological and psychiatric symptoms observed in fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD). Here, we performed a coordinated transcriptome analysis of human and mouse fetal cerebral cortices exposed to ethanol in vitro and in vivo, respectively. Up- and down-regulated genes conserved in the human and mouse models and the biological annotation of their expression profiles included many genes/terms related to neural development, such as cell proliferation, neuronal migration and differentiation, providing a reliable connection between the two species. Our data indicate that use of the combined rodent and human model systems provides an effective strategy to reveal and analyze gene expression changes inflicted by various physical and chemical environmental exposures during prenatal development. It also can potentially provide insight into the pathogenesis of environmentally caused brain disorders in humans.

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