Prenatal alcohol exposure (PAE) reduces the size of the forepaw representation in forepaw barrel subfield (FBS) cortex in neonatal rats: relationship between periphery and central representation.
ABSTRACT Prenatal alcohol exposure (PAE) alters limb development that may lead to structural and functional abnormalities of the limb reported in children diagnosed with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. To determine whether PAE alters the central representation of the forelimb we used the rodent barrel cortex as our model system where it was possible to visualize and quantitatively measure the size of the forepaw representation in the forepaw barrel subfield (FBS) in first somatosensory cortex. In the present study, we examined the effects of PAE on pattern and size of the forepaw and forepaw representation in FBS in neonatal rats at gestational day 32 that corresponds to postnatal day 9. Pregnant Sprague-Dawley rats were chronically intubated with binge doses of ethanol (6 g/kg) from gestational day 1 through gestational day 20. The offspring of the ethanol treated dams comprised the ethanol (EtOH) group. The effect of PAE on the EtOH group was compared with a nutritional-controlled pairfed (PF) group and a normal chowfed (CF) group. The ventral (glabrous) surface area of the forepaw digits, length of digit 2 through digit 5, and the corresponding glabrous forepaw digit representations in the FBS were measured and compared between treatment groups. In rats exposed to in utero alcohol, the sizes of the overall glabrous forepaw and forepaw digits were significantly reduced in EtOH pups compared to CF and PF pups; overall glabrous forepaw area was 11% smaller than CF controls. Glabrous digit lengths were also smaller in EtOH rats compared to CF controls and significantly smaller in digit 2 through digit 4. The glabrous digit representation in FBS was 18% smaller in the EtOH group when compared to the CF treatment. However, PAE did not produce malformations in the forepaw or alter the pattern of the forepaw representation in FBS; instead, PAE significantly reduced both body and brain weights compared to controls. Unexpectedly, little or no correlation was observed between the size of the glabrous forepaw compared to the size of the glabrous forepaw representation in the FBS for any of the treatment groups. The present findings of PAE-related alterations in sensory periphery and the central cortical representation may underlie deficits in sensorimotor integration reported among children with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder.
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ABSTRACT: Previous research has quantified differences in head and spinal kinematics between children and adults restrained in an automotive-like configuration subjected to low speed dynamic loading. The forces and moments that the cervical spine imposes on the head contribute directly to these age-based kinematic variations. To provide further explanation of the kinematic results, this study compared the upper neck kinetics - including the relative contribution of shear and tension as well as flexion moment - between children (n=20, 6-14 yr) and adults (n=10, 18-30 yr) during low-speed (<4 g, 2.5 m/s) frontal sled tests. The subjects were restrained by a lap and shoulder belt and photo-reflective targets were attached to skeletal landmarks on the head, spine, shoulders, sternum, and legs. A 3D infrared tracking system quantified the position of the targets. Shear force (F(x)), axial force (F(z)), bending moment (M(y)), and head angular acceleration (θ(head)) were computed using inverse dynamics. The method was validated against ATD measured loads. Peak F(z) and θ(head) significantly decreased with increasing age while M(y) significantly increased with increasing age. F(x) significantly increased with age when age was considered as a univariate variable; however when variations in head-to-neck girth ratio and change in velocity were accounted for, this difference as a function of age was not significant. These results provide insight into the relationship between age-based differences in head kinematics and the kinetics of the cervical spine. Such information is valuable for pediatric cervical spine models and when scaling adult-based upper cervical spine tolerance and injury metrics to children.Journal of biomechanics 11/2011; 45(1):99-106. · 2.66 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: During the last 20 years, new and exciting roles for glial cells in brain development have been described. Moreover, several recent studies implicated glial cells in the pathogenesis of neurodevelopmental disorders including Down syndrome, Fragile X syndrome, Rett Syndrome, Autism Spectrum Disorders, and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD). Abnormalities in glial cell development and proliferation and increased glial cell apoptosis contribute to the adverse effects of ethanol on the developing brain and it is becoming apparent that the effects of fetal alcohol are due, at least in part, to effects on glial cells affecting their ability to modulate neuronal development and function. The three major classes of glial cells, astrocytes, oligodendrocytes, and microglia as well as their precursors are affected by ethanol during brain development. Alterations in glial cell functions by ethanol dramatically affect neuronal development, survival, and function and ultimately impair the development of the proper brain architecture and connectivity. For instance, ethanol inhibits astrocyte-mediated neuritogenesis and oligodendrocyte development, survival and myelination; furthermore, ethanol induces microglia activation and oxidative stress leading to the exacerbation of ethanol-induced neuronal cell death. This review article describes the most significant recent findings pertaining the effects of ethanol on glial cells and their significance in the pathophysiology of FASD and other neurodevelopmental disorders.Frontiers in Pediatrics 11/2014; 2:123.
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ABSTRACT: In utero ethanol exposure from a mother's consumption of alcoholic beverages impacts brain and cognitive development, creating a range of deficits in the child (Levitt, 1998; Lebel et al., 2012). Children diagnosed with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) are often born with facial dysmorphology and may exhibit cognitive, behavioral, and motor deficits from ethanol-related neurobiological damage in early development. Prenatal ethanol exposure (PrEE) is the number one cause of preventable mental and intellectual dysfunction globally, therefore the neurobiological underpinnings warrant systematic research. We document novel anatomical and gene expression abnormalities in the neocortex of newborn mice exposed to ethanol in utero. This is the first study to demonstrate large-scale changes in intraneocortical connections and disruption of normal patterns of neocortical gene expression in any prenatal ethanol exposure animal model. Neuroanatomical defects and abnormal neocortical RZRβ, Id2, and Cadherin8 expression patterns are observed in PrEE newborns, and abnormal behavior is present in 20-d-old PrEE mice. The vast network of neocortical connections is responsible for high-level sensory and motor processing as well as complex cognitive thought and behavior in humans. Disruptions to this network from PrEE-related changes in gene expression may underlie some of the cognitive-behavioral phenotypes observed in children with FASD.Journal of Neuroscience 11/2013; 33(48):18893-18905. · 6.75 Impact Factor