Shao-yu Chen and Maharajan Kannan, Neural Crest Cells and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders: Mechanisms and Potential Targets for Prevention, Pharmacological Research, (2023) doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.phrs.2023.106855
Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) are a group of preventable and nongenetic birth defects caused by prenatal alcohol exposure that can result in a range of cognitive, behavioral, emotional, and functioning deficits, as well as craniofacial dysmorphology and other congenital defects. During embryonic development, neural crest cells (NCCs) play a critical role in giving rise to many cell types in the developing embryos, including those in the peripheral nervous system and craniofacial structures. Ethanol exposure during this critical period can have detrimental effects on NCCs’ induction, migration, differentiation, and survival, leading to a broad range of structural and functional abnormalities observed in individuals with FASD.
This review article provides an overview of the current knowledge on the detrimental effects of ethanol on NCCs’ induction, migration, differentiation, and survival. The article also examines the molecular mechanisms involved in ethanol-induced NCC dysfunction, such as oxidative stress, altered gene expression, apoptosis, epigenetic modifications, and other signaling pathways.
Furthermore, the review highlights potential therapeutic strategies for preventing or mitigating the detrimental effects of ethanol on NCCs and reducing the risk of FASD. Overall, this article offers a comprehensive overview of the current understanding of the impact of ethanol on NCCs and its role in FASD, shedding light on potential avenues for future research and intervention.