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Researchers block damage to fetal brain following maternal alcohol consumption
Date:8/10/2008

d that this acidity damages the Purkinje cells of the fetal cerebellum. Using 56 pregnant sheep, they induced the change in pH in some sheep using alcohol, while in others they manipulated the extracellular pH. This approach allowed them to test their hypothesis that it was the fall in pH that created the damage, not the alcohol, per se.

Alcohol produced a 45% reduction in Purkinje cells of the fetal cerebellum, while the pH changes alone produced a 24% decrease. A drop in the number of Purkinje cells in the cerebellum is a measure of damage.

However, when the researchers used a drug, doxapram, to block the TASK channels leading into the Purkinje cells, they prevented the change in pH in the fetal cerebellar cells and prevented any reduction in the number of these cells.

"This study demonstrates that direct pharmacological blockade of TASK 1 and TASK 3 channels protects the most sensitive target of fetal alcohol exposure, cerebellar Purkinje cells," the authors concluded.

Finding adds to growing body of work

This study complements work by other researchers who have found success with supplements such as choline, a precursor for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. These supplements may work on the same mechanism that Dr. Cudd's lab has been researching.


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Contact: Christine Guilfoy
cguilfoy@the-aps.org
301-634-7253
American Physiological Society
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2

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