Epigenetic Mechanisms in Developmental Alcohol-Induced Neurobehavioral Deficits

Basavarajappa, Balapal S.; Subbanna, Shivakumar

Alcohol consumption during pregnancy and its damaging consequences on the developing infant brain are significant public health, social, and economic issues. The major distinctive features of prenatal alcohol exposure in humans are cognitive and behavioral dysfunction due to damage to the central nervous system (CNS), which results in a continuum of disarray that is collectively called fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD). Many rodent models have been developed to understand the mechanisms of and to reproduce the human FASD phenotypes. These animal FASD studies have provided several molecular pathways that are likely responsible for the neurobehavioral abnormalities that are associated with prenatal alcohol exposure of the developing CNS. Recently, many laboratories have identified several immediate, as well as long-lasting, epigenetic modifications of DNA methylation, DNA-associated histone proteins and microRNA (miRNA) biogenesis by using a variety of epigenetic approaches in rodent FASD models. Because DNA methylation patterns, DNA-associated histone protein modifications and miRNA-regulated gene expression are crucial for synaptic plasticity and learning and memory, they can therefore offer an answer to many of the neurobehavioral abnormalities that are found in FASD. In this review, we briefly discuss the current literature of DNA methylation, DNA-associated histone proteins modification and miRNA and review recent developments concerning epigenetic changes in FASD.


Also Published In

Brain Sciences

More About This Work

Academic Units
Published Here
September 8, 2016