Alcohol Exposure in Utero Results in Diminished T‐cell Function and Alterations in Brain Corticotropin‐Releasing Factor and ACTH Content

Eva Redei*, William R. Clark, Robert F. McGivem

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations

Abstract

The long‐term teratogenic effects of prenatal ethanol exposure during the last week of gestation on immune responsiveness and levels of pituitary ACTH and hypothalamic corticotropin‐releasing factor (CRF) were examined in Sprague‐Dawley rats. Immune responsiveness was measured by T‐lymphocyte proliferation in response to mitogenic stimulation with Con A (3 μg/ml) in spleen and thymus cells of 21‐old‐day male refs who were exposed to alcohol in utero. The proliferative response was 8‐fold lower in spleen and twofold lower in thymus cells from alcohol‐exposed animals compared to responses measured in control rats. Thymus weight was significantly smaller at birth in alcohol exposed males, but significantly larger at 21 days of age compared to Controls. Alterations in the content of ACTH and CRF, hormones, known to be direct or indirect modulators of immune responsiveness, were also observed in alcohol exposed males. Hypothalamic Content of CRF and pituitary content of ACTH were significantly lower in alcohol exposed males on postnatal Day 1, but hypothalamic ACTH content was significantly higher compared to controls. These results indicate that alcohol exposure during the last week of gestation can produce alterations of the hypothalamic‐pituitary‐adrenal function in addition to teratogenic effects on the immune system which have been previously observed only with a much longer alcohol exposure regimen

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)439-443
Number of pages5
JournalAlcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research
Volume13
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Toxicology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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