Dose-response analysis of microvasculature changes in the murine fetal brain and the maternal extremities due to prenatal ethanol exposure.
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SIGNIFICANCE: Prenatal exposure to ethanol causes several morphological and neurobehavioral deficits. While there are some studies on the effects of ethanol exposure on blood flow, research focusing on acute changes in the microvasculature is limited. AIM: The first aim of this study was to assess the dose-dependent changes in murine fetal brain microvasculature of developing fetuses in response to maternal alcohol consumption. The second aim was to quantify changes in vasculature occurring concurrently in the mother's hindlimb and the fetus's brain after maternal exposure to alcohol. APPROACH: Correlation mapping optical coherence angiography was used to evaluate the effects of prenatal exposure to different doses of ethanol (3, 1.5, and 0.75g/kg) on murine fetal brain vasculature in utero. Additionally, simultaneous imaging of maternal peripheral vessels and the fetal brain vasculature was performed to assess changes of the vasculature occurring concurrently in response to ethanol consumption. RESULTS: The fetal brain vessel diameters (VDs) decreased by 47%, 30%, and 14% in response to ethanol doses of 3, 1.5, and 0.75g/kg, respectively. However, the mother's hindlimb VD increased by 63% in response to ethanol at a dose of 3g/kg. CONCLUSIONS: Results showed a dose-dependent reduction in vascular blood flow in fetal brain vessels when the mother was exposed to ethanol, whereas vessels in the maternal hindlimb exhibited concurrent vasodilation.