Document Detail

Prenatal alcohol exposure and fetal programming: effects on neuroendocrine and immune function.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  15956767     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Alcohol abuse is known to result in clinical abnormalities of endocrine function and neuroendocrine regulation. However, most studies have been conducted on males. Only recently have studies begun to investigate the influence of alcohol on endocrine function in females and, more specifically, endocrine function during pregnancy. Alcohol-induced endocrine imbalances may contribute to the etiology of fetal alcohol syndrome. Alcohol crosses the placenta and can directly affect developing fetal cells and tissues. Alcohol-induced changes in maternal endocrine function can disrupt maternal-fetal hormonal interactions and affect the female's ability to maintain a successful pregnancy, thus indirectly affecting the fetus. In this review, we focus on the adverse effects of prenatal alcohol exposure on neuroendocrine and immune function, with particular emphasis on the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis and the concept of fetal programming. The HPA axis is highly susceptible to programming during fetal development. Early environmental experiences, including exposure to alcohol, can reprogram the HPA axis such that HPA tone is increased throughout life. We present data that demonstrate that maternal alcohol consumption increases HPA activity in both the maternal female and the offspring. Increased exposure to endogenous glucocorticoids throughout the lifespan can alter behavioral and physiologic responsiveness and increase vulnerability to illnesses or disorders later in life. Alterations in immune function may be one of the long-term consequences of fetal HPA programming. We discuss studies that demonstrate the adverse effects of alcohol on immune competence and the increased vulnerability of ethanol-exposed offspring to the immunosuppressive effects of stress. Fetal programming of HPA activity may underlie some of the long-term behavioral, cognitive, and immune deficits that are observed following prenatal alcohol exposure.
Xingqi Zhang; Joanna H Sliwowska; Joanne Weinberg
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't; Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.; Review    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Experimental biology and medicine (Maywood, N.J.)     Volume:  230     ISSN:  1535-3702     ISO Abbreviation:  Exp. Biol. Med. (Maywood)     Publication Date:  2005 Jun 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2005-06-15     Completed Date:  2005-07-18     Revised Date:  2007-11-14    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  100973463     Medline TA:  Exp Biol Med (Maywood)     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  376-88     Citation Subset:  IM    
Department of Cellular and Physiological Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, The University of British Columbia, 2177 Wesbrook Mall, Vancouver, British Columbia V6T 1Z3, Canada.
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MeSH Terms
Alcohol Drinking / adverse effects*
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome / embryology,  etiology*,  immunology
Hypothalamo-Hypophyseal System / drug effects,  embryology,  growth & development
Immune System / drug effects,  embryology,  growth & development
Pituitary-Adrenal System / drug effects,  embryology,  growth & development
Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects*
Grant Support

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