Low‐dose maternal alcohol consumption: effects in the hearts of offspring in early life and adulthood

Nguyen, Vivian B., Probyn, Megan E., Campbell, Fiona, Yin, Kom V., Samuel, Chrishan S., Zimanyi, Monika, Bertram, John F., Black, Mary Jane, and Moritz, Karen M. (2014) Low‐dose maternal alcohol consumption: effects in the hearts of offspring in early life and adulthood. Physiological Reports, 2 (7). e12087. pp. 1-12.

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High alcohol consumption during pregnancy leads to deleterious effects on fetal cardiac structure and it also affects cardiomyocyte growth and maturation. This study aimed to determine whether low levels of maternal alcohol consumption are also detrimental to cardiomyocyte and cardiac growth in the early life of offspring and whether cardiac structure and function in adulthood is affected. Pregnant Sprague-Dawley rat dams were fed a control or 6% (volume/volume) liquid-based ethanol supplemented (isocaloric) diet throughout gestation. At embryonic day 20, the expression of genes involved in cardiac development was analyzed using Real-time PCR. At postnatal day 30, cardiomyocyte number, size, and nuclearity in the left ventricle (LV) were determined stereologically. In 8-month-old offspring, LV fibrosis and cardiac function (by echocardiography) were examined. Maternal ethanol consumption did not alter gene expression of the cardiac growth factors in the fetus or cardiomyocyte number in weanling offspring. However, at 8 months, there were significant increases in LV anterior and posterior wall thickness during diastole in ethanol-exposed offspring (P = 0.037 and P = 0.024, respectively), indicative of left ventricular hypertrophy; this was accompanied by a significant increase in fibrosis. Additionally, maximal aortic flow velocity was significantly decreased in ethanol-exposed offspring (P = 0.035). In conclusion, although there were no detectable early-life differences in cardiac and cardiomyocyte growth in animals exposed to a chronic low dose of ethanol during gestation, there were clearly deleterious outcomes by adulthood. This suggests that even relatively low doses of alcohol consumed during pregnancy can be detrimental to long-term cardiac health in the offspring.

Item ID: 49065
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2051-817X
Keywords: cardiomyocyte, ethanol, heart, prenatal, rat
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© 2014 The Authors. Physiological Reports published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of the American Physiological Society and The Physiological Society. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Funders: National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC)
Projects and Grants: NHMRC Grant APP1041766
Date Deposited: 10 Jul 2017 02:03
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1102 Cardiovascular Medicine and Haematology > 110299 Cardiovascular Medicine and Haematology not elsewhere classified @ 100%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9201 Clinical Health (Organs, Diseases and Abnormal Conditions) > 920103 Cardiovascular System and Diseases @ 100%
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