Wallén, E.; Auvinen, P.; Kaminen-Ahola, N. The Effects of Early Prenatal Alcohol Exposure on Epigenome and Embryonic Development. Genes 2021, 12, 1095. https://doi.org/10.3390/genes12071095
Prenatal alcohol exposure is one of the most significant causes of developmental disability in the Western world. Maternal alcohol consumption during pregnancy leads to an increased risk of neurological deficits and developmental abnormalities in the fetus. Over the past decade, several human and animal studies have demonstrated that alcohol causes alterations in epigenetic marks, including DNA methylation, histone modifications, and non-coding RNAs. There is an increasing amount of evidence that early pregnancy is a sensitive period for environmental-induced epigenetic changes. It is a dynamic period of epigenetic reprogramming, cell divisions, and DNA replication and, therefore, a particularly interesting period to study the molecular changes caused by alcohol exposure as well as the etiology of alcohol-induced developmental disorders.
This article will review the current knowledge about the in vivo and in vitro effects of alcohol exposure on the epigenome, gene regulation, and the phenotype during the first weeks of pregnancy.
Click here to read the open access review article.