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Neurotoxicol Teratol. 2014 Jul-Aug;44:70-80. doi: 10.1016/j.ntt.2014.06.001. Epub 2014 Jun 11.

Molecular and morphological changes in zebrafish following transient ethanol exposure during defined developmental stages.

Author information

1
Julius L. Chambers Biomedical/Biotechnology Research Institute, North Carolina Central University, Durham, NC 27707, United States.
2
Julius L. Chambers Biomedical/Biotechnology Research Institute, North Carolina Central University, Durham, NC 27707, United States; Department of Biology, North Carolina Central University, Durham, NC 27707, United States.
3
Julius L. Chambers Biomedical/Biotechnology Research Institute, North Carolina Central University, Durham, NC 27707, United States; Department of Biology, North Carolina Central University, Durham, NC 27707, United States. Electronic address: gcole@nccu.edu.

Abstract

Alcohol is a teratogen that has diverse effects on brain and craniofacial development, leading to a constellation of developmental disorders referred to as fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD). The molecular basis of ethanol insult remains poorly understood, as does the relationship between molecular and behavioral changes as a consequence of prenatal ethanol exposure. Zebrafish embryos were exposed to a range of ethanol concentrations (0.5-5.0%) during defined developmental stages, and examined for morphological phenotypes characteristic of FASD. Embryos were also analyzed by in situ hybridization for changes in expression of defined cell markers for neural cell types that are sonic hedgehog-dependent. We show that transient binge-like ethanol exposures during defined developmental stages, such as early gastrulation and early neurulation, result in a range of phenotypes and changes in expression of Shh-dependent genes. The severity of fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) morphological phenotypes, such as microphthalmia, depends on the embryonic stage and concentration of alcohol exposure, as does diminution of retinal Pax6a or forebrain and hindbrain GAD1 gene expression. We also show that changes in eye and brain morphology correlate with changes in Pax6a and GAD1 gene expression. Our results therefore show that transient binge-like ethanol exposures in zebrafish embryos produce the stereotypical morphological phenotypes of FAS, with the severity of phenotypes depending on the developmental stage and alcohol concentration of exposure.

KEYWORDS:

Agrin; Ethanol; FASD; Sonic hedgehog; Zebrafish

PMID:
24929233
PMCID:
PMC4120066
DOI:
10.1016/j.ntt.2014.06.001
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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