Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder and Iron Homeostasis

Bradley, R.; Lakpa, K.L.; Burd, M.; Mehta, S.; Katusic, M.Z.; Greenmyer, J.R. Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder and Iron Homeostasis. Nutrients 2022, 14, 4223. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu14204223


Prenatal alcohol exposure results in a spectrum of behavioral, cognitive, and morphological abnormalities collectively referred to as fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD). FASD presents with significant phenotypic variability and may be modified by gestational variables such as maternal nutritional status. Iron serves a critical function in the development of and processes within central nervous system (CNS) structures. Gestational iron deficiency alters CNS development and may contribute to neurodevelopmental impairment in FASD. This review explores the relationship between iron deficiency and fetal alcohol spectrum disorder as described in small animal and human studies. Consideration is given to the pathophysiologic mechanisms linking iron homeostasis and prenatal alcohol exposure. Existing data suggest that iron deficiency contributes to the severity of FASD and provide a mechanistic explanation linking these two conditions.

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