Navigation Links
Specific genetic cause of fetal alcohol-related developmental disorders found

Alcohol consumption by pregnant women hinders brain development in their children by interfering with the genetic processes that control thyroid hormone levels in the fetal brain, a new animal study found. Results will be presented Wednesday at The Endocrine Society's 91st Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C.

Fetal alcohol exposureeven from moderate drinking during pregnancycan cause neurodevelopmental disorders, such as emotional behavioral disorders and deficits in learning, memory and speech. There is currently no treatment for these problems, said the author who will present the study results, Laura Sittig, a student at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

Past animal research shows that some of these lasting cognitive impairments occur because alcohol consumption during pregnancy decreases the level of maternal thyroid hormones and, therefore, fetal thyroid hormones.

"Specific concentrations of thyroid hormones must be available in the fetal brain to support normal neurological development," Sittig said.

One of the enzymes that control thyroid hormone levels in the fetal brain is the iodothyronine deiodinase type III, or Dio3, she explained.

Sittig and her colleagues hypothesized that alcohol exposure in the womb leads to cognitive impairments by inducing epigenetic alterationschanges to DNA that do not alter the actual DNA sequenceof developmental genes like Dio3 in the fetal brain. To investigate this hypothesis, they used rats to model moderate alcohol consumption during pregnancy.

The study, which was funded by the National Institutes of Health, demonstrated that fetal alcohol exposure disrupts the epigenetic "imprinting" of Dio3. In this process, Dio3 normally originates from the father's gene, while the maternal gene is silenced by epigenetic control. But alcohol exposure changes the paternal-maternal dosage of Dio3, which increases the amount of the enzyme present in specific brain regions of the fetus, the authors found.

This increase, in turn, reduces the availability of vital thyroid hormones in the parts of the brain that control learning, memory and emotional behaviors.

"In light of our current finding, we can begin testing specific dietary supplements that could reverse the epigenetic alterations that disrupt the regulation of Dio3," Sittig said. "When given to the mother or newborn, this might correct the imprinting deficits induced by alcohol."

"This is a promising avenue to improve the prognosis of alcohol-related neurodevelopmental disorders, for which we currently have no intervention strategy," she said.


Contact: Aaron Lohr
The Endocrine Society

Related biology news :

1. Specific brain protein required for nerve cell connections to form and function
2. St. Jude identifies the specific cell that causes eye cancer, disproving long-held theory
3. Foods, not specific nutrients, may be key to good health
4. The key to unlocking the secret of highly specific DNAzyme catalysis
5. First-ever study to link increased mortality specifically to carbon dioxide emissions
6. Its a unisex brain with specific signals that trigger male behavior
7. Oocyte-specific gene mutations cause premature ovarian failure
8. New paradigm for cell-specific gene delivery
9. Carnegie Mellon MRI technology that non-invasively locates, quantifies specific cells in the body
10. Researchers seeking to identify Alzheimers risk focus on specific blood biomarker
11. Study reveals specific gene in adolescent men with delinquent peers
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/20/2015)... 20, 2015 NXTD ) ("NXT-ID" ... the growing mobile commerce market and creator of the ... , was recently interviewed on The RedChip Money ... this weekend on Bloomberg Europe , Bloomberg Asia, ... --> NXTD ) ("NXT-ID" or the "Company"), a ...
(Date:11/17/2015)... -- Paris from 17 th ... Paris from 17 th until 19 th ... has invented the first combined scanner in the world which ... surface. Until now two different scanners were required: one for ... on the same surface. This innovation is an ideal ...
(Date:11/12/2015)...  A golden retriever that stayed healthy despite having ... provided a new lead for treating this muscle-wasting disorder, ... of MIT and Harvard and the University of São ... Cell, pinpoints a protective gene that boosts ... The Boston Children,s lab of Lou Kunkel , ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:12/1/2015)... Dec. 1, 2015 Today the Allen Institute ... Seattle,s South Lake Union neighborhood, the ... Mercer Street and Westlake Avenue North, the 270,000 square ... Institute for Brain Science and the Allen Institute for ... and founder of the Allen Institute. "We started by ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... Calif. , Dec. 1, 2015 ... Transformational Health program. This program addresses ways companies ... of change. ... Logo - ... aspect of healthcare, as well as the disrupting ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... Dec. 01, 2015 ... of the "2016 Europe Cell Surface ... Technologies, Competitive Strategies, Opportunities for Suppliers--France, Germany, ... offering. --> ) has ... Europe Cell Surface Markers: Country Volume and ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... ... December 01, 2015 , ... ... that its best selling system laboratory animal colony management software solution, ezColony®, is ... investing in on-site IT resources., , Many organizations are ...
Breaking Biology Technology: