Objective: We hypothesized that administration of alcohol during the second trimester of gestation at the pseudoglandular phase of lung development might lead to aberrant differentiation and growth, similar to that seen in congenital cystic adenomatoid malformation in human. We further hypothesized that these effects would be apparent morphologically and by altered Hoxb5 expression.
Study design: C57BL/6J mice, exposed to ethanol at embryonic day (E) 11.5 to E13.5, which corresponds to the pseudoglandular stage of lung development, were examined at E18.5. The lungs were analyzed histologically by immunostaining.
Results: The average body and lung weight of alcohol-exposed (AE) fetuses were lower than those of control fetuses, the reduction in lung mass being more than the body weight. Histology showed that AE lungs were less developed and exhibited higher expression of Hoxb5 in AE lungs than controls.
Conclusion: Alcohol exposure at E13.5 affected fetal lung development, with delayed differentiation and increased Hoxb5.