Drinking alcohol during pregnancy affects learning and memory function in offspring?

July 19, 2013, Neural Regeneration Research
Drinking alcohol during pregnancy affects learning and memory function in offspring?
A large number of hippocampal neurons were stained with cyclin-dependent kinase 5 in the offspring from the ethanol-treated group (immunofluorescence, × 400). Credit: Neural Regeneration Research

Maternal alcohol consumption during pregnancy has detrimental effects on fetal central nervous system development.

Maternal prior to and during pregnancy significantly affects cognitive functions in offspring, which may be related to changes in cyclin-dependent kinase 5 because it is associated with modulation of synaptic plasticity and impaired learning and memory. Prof. Ruiling Zhang and team from Xinxiang Medical University explored the correlation between cyclin-dependent kinase 5 expression in the hippocampus and neurological impairments following prenatal ethanol exposure, and found that prenatal ethanol exposure could affect cyclin-dependent kinase 5 and its activator p35 in the hippocampus of offspring rats.

These findings, which reported in the Neural Regeneration Research (Vol. 8, No. 18, 2013), propose new insights into the mechanisms underlying the role of ethanol exposure in injuries, and provide a new strategy for treating the consequences of prenatal ethanol exposure.

Explore further: Atomic-level characterization of the effects of alcohol on a major player of the central nervous system

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