ZFIN ID: ZDB-PUB-140615-1
Molecular and morphological changes in zebrafish following transient ethanol exposure during defined developmental stages
Zhang, C., Frazier, J.M., Chen, H., Liu, Y., Lee, J.A., Cole, G.J.
Date: 2014
Source: Neurotoxicology and teratology   44: 70-80 (Journal)
Registered Authors: Chen, Hao, Cole, Gregory J., Zhang, Chengjin
Keywords: FASD, Sonic hedgehog, agrin, ethanol, zebrafish
MeSH Terms:
  • Animals
  • Embryo, Nonmammalian/drug effects*
  • Ethanol/toxicity*
  • Eye Proteins/genetics
  • Female
  • Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders/genetics*
  • Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders/pathology*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental/drug effects*
  • Glutamate Decarboxylase/genetics
  • Homeodomain Proteins/genetics
  • Paired Box Transcription Factors/genetics
  • Pregnancy
  • Repressor Proteins/genetics
  • Zebrafish/embryology
PubMed: 24929233 Full text @ Neurotoxicol. Teratol.
Alcohol is a teratogen that has diverse effects on brain and craniofacial development, leading to a constellation of developmental disorders referred to as fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD). The molecular basis of ethanol insult remains poorly understood, as does the relationship between molecular and behavioral changes as a consequence of prenatal ethanol exposure. Zebrafish embryos were exposed to a range of ethanol concentrations (0.5-5.0%) during defined developmental stages, and examined for morphological phenotypes characteristic of FASD. Embryos were also analyzed by in situ hybridization for changes in expression of defined cell markers for neural cell types that are sonic hedgehog-dependent. We show that transient binge-like ethanol exposures during defined developmental stages, such as early gastrulation and early neurulation, result in a range of phenotypes and changes in expression of Shh-dependent genes. The severity of fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) morphological phenotypes, such as microphthalmia, depends on the embryonic stage and concentration of alcohol exposure, as does diminution of retinal Pax6a or forebrain and hindbrain GAD1 gene expression. We also show that changes in eye and brain morphology correlate with changes in Pax6a and GAD1 gene expression. Our results therefore show that transient binge-like ethanol exposures in zebrafish embryos produce the stereotypical morphological phenotypes of FAS, with the severity of phenotypes depending on the developmental stage and alcohol concentration of exposure.