Evaluating the effects of maternal alcohol consumption on murine fetal brain vasculature using optical coherence tomography.
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Prenatal alcohol exposure (PAE) can result in a range of anomalies including brain and behavioral dysfunctions, collectively termed fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. PAE during the 1st and 2nd trimester is common, and research in animal models has documented significant neural developmental deficits associated with PAE during this period. However, little is known about the immediate effects of PAE on fetal brain vasculature. In this study, we used in utero speckle variance optical coherence tomography, a high spatial- and temporal-resolution imaging modality, to evaluate dynamic changes in microvasculature of the 2nd trimester equivalent murine fetal brain, minutes after binge-like maternal alcohol exposure. Acute binge-like PAE resulted in a rapid (<1 hour) and significant decrease (P < .001) in vessel diameter as compared to the sham group. The data show that a single binge-like maternal alcohol exposure resulted in swift vasoconstriction in fetal brain vessels during the critical period of neurogenesis.