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Myelin degeneration in peripheral nerve in chick embryos following continuous ethanol exposure

Author(s): Chaudhuri JD

Journal: Neuroanatomy
ISSN 1303-1783

Volume: 5;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 50;
Date: 2006;
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Keywords: fetal alcohol syndrome | FAS | myelin degeneration | peripheral nerve

Fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), a condition occurring in some children of mothers who have consumedalcohol during pregnancy, is characterized among other features by motor and sensory derangements andneurobehavioral deficits. However, no specific changes in the brain and spinal cord that could conclusivelyexplain these neuronal defects have been reported. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of continuous ethanol exposure during early gestation onthe peripheral nerve, towards the understanding of neuronal disorders in FAS. A chick model of FAS was usedand embryos were exposed to 5%, 10% and 15% ethanol on embryonic days 1-8. The effects on general growthand development, and on the peripheral nerve of ethanol-exposed embryos were examined following the fullperiod of gestation. There was significant reduction in crown rump length, head circumference and body weight in ethanol exposedchicks when compared with appropriate control groups. The growth retardation among the different alcoholexposed groups was dose dependent and prenatal mortality of embryos was seen in embryos exposed to 10%and 15% ethanol. Features of myelin degeneration were observed in the peripheral nerve in majority of chickembryos exposed to 10% and 15% ethanol as compared to embryos exposed to 5% ethanol as well as in thecontrol groups. Thus, this study demonstrates the dose dependent effects of continuous prenatal ethanolexposure in a chick model of FAS. More significantly, it demonstrates the detrimental effects of prenatal alcoholexposure on the developing peripheral nerve.

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