Click here to close Hello! We notice that you are using Internet Explorer, which is not supported by Xenbase and may cause the site to display incorrectly. We suggest using a current version of Chrome, FireFox, or Safari.
Differentiation June 1, 2007; 75 (5): 393-403.

Early molecular effects of ethanol during vertebrate embryogenesis.

Yelin R , Kot H , Yelin D , Fainsod A .

Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) is the combination of developmental, morphological, and neurological defects that result from exposing human embryos to ethanol (EtOH). Numerous embryonic structures are affected, leading to a complex viable phenotype affecting among others, the anterior/posterior axis, head, and eye formation. Recent studies have provided evidence suggesting that EtOH teratogenesis is mediated in part through a reduction in retinoic acid (RA) levels, targeting mainly the embryonic organizer (Spemann''s organizer) and its subsequent functions. EtOH-treated Xenopus embryos were subjected to an analysis of gene expression patterns. Analysis of organizer-specific genes revealed a transient delay in the invagination of gsc- and chordin-positive cells that eventually reach their normal rostro-caudal position. Dorsal midline genes show defects along the rostro-caudal axis, lacking either their rostral (Xbra and Xnot2) or caudal (FoxA4b and Shh) expression domains. Head-specific markers like Otx2, en2, and Shh show abnormal expression patterns. Otx2 exhibits a reduction in expression levels, while en2 becomes restricted along the dorsal/ventral axis. During neurula stages, Shh becomes up-regulated in the rostral region and it is expressed in an abnormal pattern. These results and histological analysis suggest the existence of malformations in the brain region including a lack of the normal fore brain ventricle. An increase in the size of both the prechordal plate and the notochord was observed, while the spinal cord is narrower. The reduction in head and eye size was accompanied by changes in the eye markers, Pax6 and Tbx3. Our results provide evidence for the early molecular changes induced by EtOH exposure during embryogenesis, and may explain some of the structural changes that are part of the EtOH teratogenic phenotype also in FASD individuals.

PubMed ID: 17286601
Article link: Differentiation

Genes referenced: chrd.1 egr2 en2 foxa4 gbx2.1 gbx2.2 gsc muc2 not otx2 pax6 shh tbx2 tbx3 tbxt
GO keywords: eye development [+]

Disease Ontology terms: fetal alcohol spectrum disorder

Article Images: [+] show captions

Xenbase: The Xenopus Model Organism Knowledgebase.
Version: 4.14.0
Major funding for Xenbase is provided by grant P41 HD064556