ABSTRACT: Prenatal ethanol exposure is the leading preventable cause of congenital mental disability. Whereas a diagnosis of fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) requires identification of a specific pattern of craniofacial dysmorphology, most individuals with behavioral and neurological sequelae of heavy prenatal ethanol exposure do not exhibit these defining facial characteristics. Here, a novel integration of MRI and dense surface modeling-based shape analysis was applied to characterize concurrent face-brain phenotypes in C57Bl/6J fetuses exposed to ethanol on gestational day (GD)7 or GD8.5. The facial phenotype resulting from ethanol exposure depended upon stage of insult and was predictive of unique patterns of corresponding brain abnormalities. Ethanol exposure on GD7 produced a constellation of dysmorphic facial features characteristic of human FAS, including severe midfacial hypoplasia, shortening of the palpebral fissures, an elongated upper lip, and deficient philtrum. In contrast, ethanol exposure on GD8.5 caused mild midfacial hypoplasia and palpebral fissure shortening, a shortened upper lip, and a preserved philtrum. These distinct, stage-specific facial phenotypes were associated with unique volumetric and shape abnormalities of the septal region, pituitary, and olfactory bulbs. By demonstrating that early prenatal ethanol exposure can cause more than one temporally-specific pattern of defects, these findings illustrate the need for an expansion of current diagnostic criteria to better capture the full range of facial and brain dysmorphology in fetal alcohol spectrum disorders.
PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(8):e43067. · 4.09 Impact Factor
ABSTRACT: The application of magnetic resonance microscopy (MRM) to the study of normal and abnormal prenatal mouse development has facilitated discovery of dysmorphology following prenatal ethanol insult. The current analyses extend this work, providing a regional brain volume-based description of normal brain growth and illustrating the consequences of gestational day (GD) 10 ethanol exposure in the fetal mouse.
To assess normal growth, control C57Bl/6J fetuses collected on GD 16, GD 16.5, and GD 17 were scanned using a 9.4-T magnet, resulting in 29-μm isotropic resolution images. For the ethanol teratogenicity studies, C57Bl/6J dams were administered intraperitoneal ethanol (2.9 g/kg) at 10 days, 0 hr, and 10 days, 4 hr, after fertilization, and fetuses were collected for analyses on GD 17. From individual MRM scans, linear measurements and regional brain volumes were determined and compared.
In control fetuses, each of the assessed brain regions increased in volume, whereas ventricular volumes decreased between GD 16 and GD 17. Illustrating a global developmental delay, prenatal ethanol exposure resulted in reduced body volumes, crown-rump lengths, and a generalized decrease in regional brain volumes compared with GD 17 controls. However, compared with GD 16.5, morphologically matched controls, ethanol exposure resulted in volume increases in the lateral and third ventricles as well as a disproportionate reduction in cortical volume.
The normative data collected in this study facilitate the distinction between GD 10 ethanol-induced developmental delay and frank dysmorphology. This work illustrates the utility of MRM-based analyses for developmental toxicology studies and extends our knowledge of the stage-dependency of ethanol teratogenesis.
Birth Defects Research Part A Clinical and Molecular Teratology 11/2010; 88(11):953-64. · 2.27 Impact Factor
ABSTRACT: This magnetic resonance microscopy (MRM)-based report is the second in a series designed to illustrate the spectrum of craniofacial and central nervous system (CNS) dysmorphia resulting from single- and multiple-day maternal ethanol treatment. The study described in this report examined the consequences of ethanol exposure on gestational day (GD) 7 in mice, a time in development when gastrulation and neural plate development begins; corresponding to the mid- to late third week postfertilization in humans. Acute GD 7 ethanol exposure in mice has previously been shown to result in CNS defects consistent with holoprosencephaly (HPE) and craniofacial anomalies typical of those in Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS). MRM has facilitated further definition of the range of GD 7 ethanol-induced defects.
C57Bl/6J female mice were intraperitoneally (i.p.) administered vehicle or 2 injections of 2.9 g/kg ethanol on day 7 of pregnancy. Stage-matched control and ethanol-exposed GD 17 fetuses selected for imaging were immersion fixed in a Bouins/Prohance solution. MRM was conducted at either 7.0 Tesla (T) or 9.4 T. Resulting 29 microm isotropic spatial resolution scans were segmented and reconstructed to provide 3D images. Linear and volumetric brain measures, as well as morphological features, were compared for control and ethanol-exposed fetuses. Following MRM, selected specimens were processed for routine histology and light microscopic examination.
Gestational day 7 ethanol exposure resulted in a spectrum of median facial and forebrain deficiencies, as expected. This range of abnormalities falls within the HPE spectrum; a spectrum for which facial dysmorphology is consistent with and typically is predictive of that of the forebrain. In addition, other defects including median facial cleft, cleft palate, micrognathia, pituitary agenesis, and third ventricular dilatation were identified. MRM analyses also revealed cerebral cortical dysplasia/heterotopias resulting from this acute, early insult and facilitated a subsequent focused histological investigation of these defects.
Individual MRM scans and 3D reconstructions of fetal mouse brains have facilitated demonstration of a broad range of GD 7 ethanol-induced morphological abnormality. These results, including the discovery of cerebral cortical heterotopias, elucidate the teratogenic potential of ethanol insult during the third week of human prenatal development.
Alcoholism Clinical and Experimental Research 10/2009; 34(1):98-111. · 3.34 Impact Factor