An optimised procedure for prenatal ethanol exposure with determination of its effects on central nervous system connections.


Sbriccoli A, Carretta D, Santarelli M, Granato A, Minciacchi D.




Brain Res Brain Res Protoc


We describe the protocol set-up to investigate an experimental model of foetal alcohol syndrome in the rat. The protocol has been devised to expose specific cell populations of the central nervous system to ethanol during their neurogenesis and has been applied to the study of diencephalo-telencephalic connections. We were able to demonstrate specific permanent changes of the adult thalamo-cortical circuitry. Our protocol can be applied to study other aspects of central nervous system-ethanol interactions, such as neurotransmitter and receptor patterns. It can also represent a useful tool to test the effects of different diets to prevent nutritional deficiencies and the efficacy of drug treatments to prevent foetal alcohol syndrome. We have shown in fact that ethanol-induced thalamo-cortical alterations are partially prevented by concurrent administration of acetyl-L-carnitine. Finally, the present protocol can be used to investigate the effects of ethanol exposure on the development of different brain structures. To this purpose, the gestational period for ethanol exposure must be chosen according to the peak of neurogenesis for the investigated structure.