Navigation Links
Fetal Alcohol Exposure May Prime Offspring for Alcoholism
Date:12/13/2007

Rat studies suggest the senses learn to like drinking early on

THURSDAY, Dec. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Rats exposed to alcohol while still in the womb learn to like the substance and are more drawn to it as young rats, a new study shows.

The observation may help explain why teens with prior fetal exposure to drinking may be more likely to abuse the substance, researchers say.

"[Exposure] to something mom ate during gestation will alter its response," explained Steven Youngentob, a professor of neuroscience and physiology at State University of New York (SUNY) and member of the SUNY Upstate Developmental Exposure Alcohol Research Center in Syracuse.

Youngentob is lead author of two studies detailing these findings in the December issue of Behavioral Neuroscience.

Even more than family history, fetal exposure to alcohol will predict if a person abuses alcohol later in life. And, the earlier that first experience, the higher the probability the person will have problems with this substance into adulthood, experts say.

Full-blown fetal alcohol syndrome involves profound mental retardation as well as cranial facial defects. But there are also more subtle effects of being exposed to alcohol in utero.

The senses are among earliest systems to develop and seem to allow the developing fetus to "learn" from the mother what is OK to eat and drink by virtue of what mom ingests during pregnancy, Youngentob explained.

"All that information gets transmitted to the fetus during gestation or the infant during lactation," he said. "It turns out that this adaptive mechanism is to the advantage of the organism and probably works for humans as well."

Unless it involves a substance of abuse, he added.

The new studies tested the hypothesis that exposure to alcohol while in the uterus resulted in an altered sensory response to the substance that then affected later behavior.

"The hypothesis was that there are these neuroadaptive changes that essentially make the ethanol [alcohol] smell and taste better to the animal. So, the animal, because of the fetal exposure, has 'learned' that ethanol is something that's good to eat," Youngentob said.

For the first study, rats that had been exposed to alcohol in the womb via maternal consumption were more likely to choose alcohol versus a nonalcoholic substance as young rats but not as adults.

The second study followed a similar protocol: Rats were exposed to alcohol while still in the uterus.

Compared to rats whose mothers just ate chow, the prenatally exposed rats sniffed alcohol more. They also had an altered odor response in their nasal passages.

"We know that the fetus has smell sensations developing in utero, and this is almost a need for survival, because you see with animals when they're born, they immediately know where to gravitate for maternal milk. The same thing [happens] when you place a baby on the mother's chest, he will recognize where the breast is just by smell," noted Dr. Raul Artal, professor and chair of the department of obstetrics, gynecology and women's health at St. Louis University.

"Learning different smells in utero and becoming familiar may be something that has a role in developing smell and taste for alcohol. This is almost a primitive type of response. It has nothing to do with intelligence. It's just part of life preservation."

In both cases, if the young rat had no more experience with alcohol by adulthood, the alcohol lost its attraction.

"The good news is that in the absence of a substance being biologically relevant -- that is, not being exposed to it -- then the animal becomes biologically neutral again," Youngentob said. "If the animals only get that fetal exposure, and you test them as adults, it's gone in terms of neurophysiological response."

But, if humans get adolescent exposure to alcohol, it can perpetuate the cycle, he said.

Youngentob and his colleagues are testing whether adolescent exposure to alcohol perpetuates the cycle in humans.

The clear message: Don't drink when pregnant, and keep alcohol away from teenagers, the researcher said.

More information

There's more on fetal alcohol syndrome at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.



SOURCES: Steven Youngentob, Ph.D., professor, neuroscience and physiology, and member, SUNY Upstate Developmental Exposure Alcohol Research Center, SUNY Upstate Medical University, Syracuse; Raul Artal, M.D., professor and chair, department of obstetrics, gynecology and women's health, St. Louis University; December 2007, Behavioral Neuroscience


'/>"/>
Copyright©2007 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Mothers Blood Could Offer Insights Into Fetal Health
2. Residual fetal cells in women may provide protection against breast cancer
3. Fetal cell transplant could be a hidden link between childbirth and reduced risk of breast cancer
4. Fetal Surgery Saves Baby After Early Water Break
5. Fetal heart rate yields clues to childrens later development
6. Fetal Heart Rate Points to Later Child Development
7. Fetal Exposure to Arsenic Affects Genes
8. Procedure to detect fetal heart defects is first automated use of 3-D ultrasound
9. High alcohol consumption increases stroke risk among Chinese men
10. High alcohol consumption increases stroke risk, Tulane study says
11. Alcoholics With Cirrhosis Have More Brain Damage
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Fetal Alcohol Exposure May Prime Offspring for Alcoholism
(Date:6/27/2016)... KS (PRWEB) , ... June 27, 2016 , ... TopConsumerReviews.com ... retailers of Eyeglasses . , Millions of individuals in the United States and ... have become a way to both correct vision and make a fashion statement. Even ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... June 26, 2016 , ... On June ... sponsor of the 2016 Cereal Festival and World’s Longest Breakfast Table in Battle Creek, ... of the city’s history as home to some of the world’s leading providers of ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... ... June 26, 2016 , ... PawPaws brand pet supplements ... that was developed to enhance the health of felines. The formula is all-natural and ... main herbs in the PawPaws Cat Kidney Support Supplement Soft Chews are ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... June 26, 2016 , ... ... fertility once they have been diagnosed with endometriosis. These women need a treatment ... also require a comprehensive approach that can help for preservation of fertility and ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... 25, 2016 , ... Austin residents seeking Mohs surgery services, can now turn ... to Dr. Russell Peckham for medical and surgical dermatology. , Dr. Dorsey brings specialization ... selective fellowship in Mohs Micrographic Surgery completed by Dr. Dorsey was under the direction ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... Research and Markets has ... 2015-2025: Applications, Technologies, Forecasts" report to their ... Electronics, Smart Skin, Structural Health Monitoring, Composite Smart ... electronics involves electronic and/or electrical components and circuits ... structures such as vehicle bodies or conformally placed ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... BEIJING , June 24, 2016 Dehaier ... or the "Company"), which develops, markets and sells medical ... China , signed a strategic cooperation agreement with ... as "Hongyuan Supply Chain") on June 20, 2016, to ... Under the strategic cooperation agreement, Dehaier will leverage Hongyuan ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... Research and Markets has announced the ... Tests" report to their offering. ... The World Market for Companion Diagnostics covers the ... analysis in the report includes the following: ... Kits) by Region (N. America, EU, ROW), 2015-2020 , ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: