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Brain Sci. 2015, 5(4), 456-493; doi:10.3390/brainsci5040456

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder: Potential Role of Endocannabinoids Signaling

1
Division of Analytical Psychopharmacology, Nathan Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research, Orangeburg, NY 10962, USA
2
New York State Psychiatric Institute, College of Physicians & Surgeons, Columbia University, New York, NY 10032, USA
3
Department of Psychiatry, College of Physicians & Surgeons, Columbia University, New York, NY 10032, USA
Academic Editor: Marieta Heaton
Received: 15 September 2015 / Revised: 19 October 2015 / Accepted: 19 October 2015 / Published: 29 October 2015
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [1734 KB, uploaded 29 October 2015]   |  

Abstract

One of the unique features of prenatal alcohol exposure in humans is impaired cognitive and behavioral function resulting from damage to the central nervous system (CNS), which leads to a spectrum of impairments referred to as fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD). Human FASD phenotypes can be reproduced in the rodent CNS following prenatal ethanol exposure. Several mechanisms are expected to contribute to the detrimental effects of prenatal alcohol exposure on the developing fetus, particularly in the developing CNS. These mechanisms may act simultaneously or consecutively and differ among a variety of cell types at specific developmental stages in particular brain regions. Studies have identified numerous potential mechanisms through which alcohol can act on the fetus. Among these mechanisms are increased oxidative stress, mitochondrial damage, interference with the activity of growth factors, glia cells, cell adhesion molecules, gene expression during CNS development and impaired function of signaling molecules involved in neuronal communication and circuit formation. These alcohol-induced deficits result in long-lasting abnormalities in neuronal plasticity and learning and memory and can explain many of the neurobehavioral abnormalities found in FASD. In this review, the author discusses the mechanisms that are associated with FASD and provides a current status on the endocannabinoid system in the development of FASD. View Full-Text
Keywords: fetal alcohol; learning and memory; CB1 receptors; brain development; synaptic plasticity; intellectual disability fetal alcohol; learning and memory; CB1 receptors; brain development; synaptic plasticity; intellectual disability
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Basavarajappa, B.S. Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder: Potential Role of Endocannabinoids Signaling. Brain Sci. 2015, 5, 456-493.

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