Commentary: catching a conserved mechanism of ethanol teratogenicity

Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2014 Aug;38(8):2160-3. doi: 10.1111/acer.12484.


Background: Due to its profound impact on human development, ethanol (EtOH) teratogenicity is a field of intense study. The complexity of variables that influence the outcomes of embryonic or prenatal EtOH exposure compels the use of animal models in which these variables can be isolated.

Methods: Numerous model systems have been used in these studies. The zebrafish is a powerful model system, which has seen a recent increase in usage for EtOH studies.

Results: Those using zebrafish for alcohol studies often face 2 questions: (i) How physiologically relevant are the doses of EtOH administered to zebrafish embryos? and (ii) Will the mechanisms of EtOH teratogenesis be conserved to other model systems and human?

Conclusions: The current article by Flentke and colleagues () helps to shed important light on these questions and clearly demonstrates that the zebrafish will be a valuable model system with which to understand EtOH teratogenicity.

Keywords: Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder; Zebrafish.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Comment

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders / etiology*
  • Neurotoxicity Syndromes / embryology*