Burke, M.W.; Slimani, H.; Ptito, M.; Ervin, F.R.; Palmour, R.M. Dose-Related Reduction in Hippocampal Neuronal Populations in Fetal Alcohol Exposed Vervet Monkeys. Brain Sci. 2022, 12, 1117. https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci12091117
Abstract: Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) is a chronic debilitating condition resulting in behavioral and intellectual impairments and is considered the most prevalent form of preventable mental retardation in the industrialized world. We previously reported that 2-year old offspring of vervet monkey (Chlorocebus sabeus) dams drinking, on average, 2.3 ± 0.49 g ethanol per Kg maternal body weight 4 days per week during the last third of pregnancy had significantly lower numbers of CA1 (−51.6%), CA2 (−51.2%) and CA3 (−42.8%) hippocampal neurons, as compared to age-matched sucrose controls. Fetal alcohol-exposed (FAE) offspring also showed significantly lower volumes for these structures at 2 years of age.
In the present study, we examined these same parameters in 12 FAE offspring with a similar average but a larger range of ethanol exposures (1.01–2.98 g/Kg/day; total ethanol exposure 24 158 g/Kg). Design-based stereology was performed on cresyl violet-stained and doublecortin (DCX)-immunostained sections of the hippocampus. We report here significant neuronal deficits in the hippocampus with a significant negative correlation between daily dose and neuronal population in CA1 (r2 = 0.486), CA2 (r2 = 0.492), and CA3 (r2 = 0.469). There were also significant correlations between DCX population in the dentate gyrus and daily dose (r2 = 0.560). Both correlations were consistent with linear dose-response models.
This study illustrates that neuroanatomical sequelae of fetal ethanol exposure are dose responsive and suggests that there may be a threshold for this effect.