Oxidative stress and neuronal changes associated with prenatal ethanol exposure in human and monkey brains

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Basalah, Duaa Ali
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Background: Prenatal ethanol exposure (PNEE) causes irreversible intellectual and behavioral disabilities, clinically known as fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. Few neuropathologic studies of human brain exist. Hypotheses: First, markers of oxidative stress persist following PNEE. Second, PNEE is associated with inhibitory and excitatory neuron changes. Methods: Human brain autopsies (153) with known PNEE were reviewed; 18 cases (fetus to adult) and controls were selected. Oxidative stress and neuronal differentiation markers were used for immunohistochemistry. Results: There were no obvious differences between control and PNEE brains using oxidative stress markers. In human PNEE brains, glutamatergic neurons were reduced 15.96 % and 18.03% in dentate gyrus and temporal cortex, respectively. GABAergic neurons reactive for parvalbumin were reduced in all hippocampal regions (CA1= 57.86%, CA3= 65.15%, and DG= 53.39%) and temporal cortex (44.13%) in all age groups. Conclusion: GABAergic neuron reduction in human following PNEE could explain motor and behavior distractibility in FASD individuals.
Prenatal Ethanol Exposure, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders