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Arch Oral Biol May 1, 2014; 59 (5): 500-12.
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The different effects on cranial and trunk neural crest cell behaviour following exposure to a low concentration of alcohol in vitro.

Czarnobaj J , Bagnall KM , Bamforth JS , Milos NC .

Embryonic neural crest cells give rise to large regions of the face and peripheral nervous system. Exposure of these cells to high alcohol concentrations leads to cell death in the craniofacial region resulting in facial defects. However, the effects of low concentrations of alcohol on neural crest cells are not clear. In this study, cranial neural crest cells from Xenopus laevis were cultured in an ethanol concentration approximately equivalent to one drink. Techniques were developed to study various aspects of neural crest cell behaviour and a number of cellular parameters were quantified. In the presence of alcohol, a significant number of cranial neural crest cells emigrated from the explant on fibronectin but the liberation of individual cells was delayed. The cells also remained close to the explant and their morphology changed. Cranial neural crest cells did not grow on Type 1 collagen. For the purposes of comparison, the behaviour of trunk neural crest cells was also studied. The presence of alcohol correlated with increased retention of single cells on fibronectin but left other parameters unchanged. The behaviour of trunk neural crest cells growing on Type 1 collagen in the presence of alcohol did not differ from controls. Low concentrations of alcohol therefore significantly affected both cranial and trunk neural crest cells, with a wider variety of effects on cells from the cranial as opposed to the trunk region. The results suggest that low concentrations of alcohol may be more detrimental to early events in organ formation than currently suspected.

PubMed ID: 24631632
Article link: Arch Oral Biol

Species referenced: Xenopus laevis
Genes referenced: col1a1 col1a2 fn1

Disease Ontology terms: fetal alcohol spectrum disorder