Effects of all three trimester moderate binge alcohol exposure on the foetal hippocampal formation and olfactory bulb Academic Article uri icon


  • OBJECTIVE: Pre-natal alcohol exposure results in injury to the hippocampus and olfactory bulb,but currently there is no consensus on the critical window of vulnerability. This study tested thehypothesis that pre-natal exposure to a moderate dose of alcohol during all three trimesterequivalentsalters development of the hippocampal formation and olfactory bulb in an ovinemodel, where all brain development occurs pre-natally as it does in humans.Research design and methods: Pregnant sheep were divided into saline control and abinge drinking groups (alcohol dose 1.75 g kg(-1); mean peak blood alcohol concentration189 + 19mg dl(-1)). OUTCOME AND RESULTS: The density, volume and total cell number were not different betweengroups for the dentate gyrus, pyramidal cells in the CA1 and CA2/3 fields and mitral cells in theolfactory bulb. CONCLUSIONS: A moderate dose of alcohol administered in a binge pattern throughout gestationdoes not alter cell numbers in the hippocampus or olfactory bulb and exposure during thethird trimester-equivalent is required for hippocampal injury, unless very high doses of alcoholare administered. This has important implications in establishing the sensitivity of imagingmodalities such as MRI in which volumetric measures are being studied as biomarkers forpre-natal alcohol exposure.

author list (cited authors)

  • Washburn, S. E., Ramadoss, J., Chen, W., & Cudd, T. A.

citation count

  • 5

publication date

  • September 2014