Effects of prenatal alcohol exposure (PAE): insights into FASD using mouse models of PAE

Biochem Cell Biol. 2018 Apr;96(2):131-147. doi: 10.1139/bcb-2017-0280. Epub 2018 Jan 25.


The potential impact of prenatal alcohol exposure (PAE) varies considerably among exposed individuals, with some displaying serious alcohol-related effects and many others showing few or no overt signs of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD). In animal models, variables such as nutrition, genetic background, health, other drugs, and stress, as well as dosage, duration, and gestational timing of exposure to alcohol can all be controlled in a way that is not possible in a clinical situation. In this review we examine mouse models of PAE and focus on those with demonstrated craniofacial malformations, abnormal brain development, or behavioral phenotypes that may be considered FASD-like outcomes. Analysis of these data should provide a valuable tool for researchers wishing to choose the PAE model best suited to their research questions or to investigate established PAE models for FASD comorbidities. It should also allow recognition of patterns linking gestational timing, dosage, and duration of PAE, such as recognizing that binge alcohol exposure(s) during early gestation can lead to severe FASD outcomes. Identified patterns could be particularly insightful and lead to a better understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying FASD.

Keywords: behavioral outcomes; conséquences comportementales; craniofacial and brain malformations; exposition prénatale à l’alcool (EPA); fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD); malformations craniofaciales et cérébrales; modèles chez la souris; mouse models; prenatal alcohol exposure (PAE); trouble du spectre de l’alcoolisation fœtale (TSAF).

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Binge Drinking / complications
  • Binge Drinking / metabolism*
  • Binge Drinking / pathology
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Female
  • Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders / metabolism*
  • Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders / pathology
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects / metabolism*
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects / pathology