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Article

Gestational Iron Supplementation Improves Fetal Outcomes in a Rat Model of Prenatal Alcohol Exposure

1
UNC Nutrition Research Institute, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Kannapolis, NC 28081, USA
2
Department of Nutrition, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Kannapolis, NC 28081, USA
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Robert Colin Carter
Nutrients 2022, 14(8), 1653; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu14081653
Received: 15 February 2022 / Revised: 16 March 2022 / Accepted: 13 April 2022 / Published: 15 April 2022
Prenatal alcohol exposure causes neurodevelopmental disability and is associated with a functional iron deficiency in the fetus and neonate, even when the mother consumes an apparently iron-adequate diet. Here, we test whether gestational administration of the clinically relevant iron supplement Fer-In-Sol mitigates alcohol’s adverse impacts upon the fetus. Pregnant Long-Evans rats consumed an iron-adequate diet and received 5 g/kg alcohol by gavage for 7 days in late pregnancy. Concurrently, some mothers received 6 mg/kg oral iron. We measured maternal and fetal weights, hematology, tissue iron content, and oxidative damage on gestational day 20.5. Alcohol caused fetal anemia, decreased fetal body and brain weight, increased hepatic iron content, and modestly elevated hepatic malondialdehyde (p’s < 0.05). Supplemental iron normalized this brain weight reduction in alcohol-exposed males (p = 0.154) but not female littermates (p = 0.031). Iron also reversed the alcohol-induced fetal anemia and normalized both red blood cell numbers and hematocrit (p’s < 0.05). Iron had minimal adverse effects on the mother or fetus. These data show that gestational iron supplementation improves select fetal outcomes in prenatal alcohol exposure (PAE) including brain weight and hematology, suggesting that this may be a clinically feasible approach to improve prenatal iron status and fetal outcomes in alcohol-exposed pregnancies. View Full-Text
Keywords: prenatal alcohol exposure; iron deficiency; fetal anemia; iron supplementation; fer-in-sol; fetal growth; fetal brain development; rat iron requirement; feed conversion prenatal alcohol exposure; iron deficiency; fetal anemia; iron supplementation; fer-in-sol; fetal growth; fetal brain development; rat iron requirement; feed conversion
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MDPI and ACS Style

Helfrich, K.K.; Saini, N.; Kwan, S.T.C.; Rivera, O.C.; Hodges, R.; Smith, S.M. Gestational Iron Supplementation Improves Fetal Outcomes in a Rat Model of Prenatal Alcohol Exposure. Nutrients 2022, 14, 1653. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu14081653

AMA Style

Helfrich KK, Saini N, Kwan STC, Rivera OC, Hodges R, Smith SM. Gestational Iron Supplementation Improves Fetal Outcomes in a Rat Model of Prenatal Alcohol Exposure. Nutrients. 2022; 14(8):1653. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu14081653

Chicago/Turabian Style

Helfrich, Kaylee K., Nipun Saini, Sze T.C. Kwan, Olivia C. Rivera, Rachel Hodges, and Susan M. Smith. 2022. "Gestational Iron Supplementation Improves Fetal Outcomes in a Rat Model of Prenatal Alcohol Exposure" Nutrients 14, no. 8: 1653. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu14081653

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