Eberly College of Arts and Sciences
Alcohol is detrimental to early development. Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) due to maternal alcohol abuse results in a series of developmental abnormalities including cranial facial dysmorphology, ocular anomalies, congenital heart defects, microcephaly and intellectual disabilities. Previous studies have been shown that ethanol exposure causes neural crest (NC) apoptosis and perturbation of neural crest migration. However, the underlying mechanism remains elusive. In this report we investigated the fetal effect of alcohol on the process of neural crest development in the Xenopus leavis.
Pre-gastrulation exposure of 2-4% alcohol induces apoptosis in Xenopus embryo whereas 1% alcohol specifically impairs neural crest migration without observing discernible apoptosis. Additionally, 1% alcohol treatment considerably increased the phenotype of small head (43.4%± 4.4%, total embryo n = 234), and 1.5% and 2.0% dramatically augment the deformation to 81.2% ± 6.5% (n = 205) and 91.6% ±3.0% (n = 235), respectively (P < 0.05). Significant accumulation of Homocysteine was caused by alcohol treatment in embryos and 5-mehtyltetrahydrofolate restores neural crest migration and alleviates homocysteine accumulation, resulting in inhibition of the alcohol-induced neurocristopathies.
Our study demonstrates that prenatal alcohol exposure causes neural crest cell migration abnormality and 5-mehtyltetrahydrofolate could be beneficial for treating FASD.
Digital Commons Citation
Shi, Yu; Li, Jiejing; Chen, Chunjiang; Gong, Manzi; Chen, Yuan; Liu, Youxue; Chen, Jie; Li, Tingyu; and Song, Weihong, "5-mehtyltetrahydrofolate rescues alcohol-induced neural crest cell migration abnormalities" (2014). Faculty & Staff Scholarship. 2478.
Shi, Y., Li, J., Chen, C. et al. 5-mehtyltetrahydrofolate rescues alcohol-induced neural crest cell migration abnormalities. Mol Brain 7, 67 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13041-014-0067-9