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Type: Journal article
Title: Maternal ethanol exposure is associated with decreased plasma zinc and increased fetal abnormalities in normal but not metallothionein-null mice
Author: Carey, L.
Coyle, P.
Philcox, J.
Rofe, A.
Citation: Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 2000; 24(2):213-219
Publisher: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins
Issue Date: 2000
ISSN: 0145-6008
Statement of
Carey, Luke C. ; Coyle, Peter ; Philcox, Jeffrey C. ; Rofe, Allan M.
Abstract: <h4>Background</h4>Ethanol profoundly affects fetal development, and this is proposed to be due primarily to a transient fetal zinc (Zn) deficiency that arises from the binding of Zn by metallothionein (MT) in the maternal liver. Zn homeostasis and fetal outcome were investigated in normal (MT+/+) and metallothionein-null (MT-/-) mice in response to ethanol exposure.<h4>Methods/results</h4>Mice were treated with saline or ethanol (0.015 m/g intraperitoneally at 0 and 4 hr) on day 8 of gestation (Gd8), and the degree of fetal dysmorphology was assessed on Gd18. The incidence of external abnormalities was significantly increased in offspring from MT+/+ dams exposed to ethanol, where 27.4% of fetuses were affected. MT-/- ethanol-, MT+/+ saline-, and MT-/- saline-treated dams had fetuses in which the frequencies of abnormalities were 2.2, 6.4, and 6.9%, respectively. To investigate Zn homeostasis, nonpregnant mice were killed at intervals over 16 hr after ethanol injection. Liver MT concentrations in MT+/+ mice were increased 20-fold by 16 hr, with a significant elevation evident by 4 hr, whereas liver Zn levels were also significantly increased by 2 hr and maintained for 16 hr. In parallel with these changes, plasma Zn concentrations in MT+/+ mice decreased by 65%, with minimum levels of 4.5+/-0.3 micromol/liter at 8 hr. Conversely, MT-/- mice exhibited increased plasma Zn concentrations, with peak values of 20.8+/-0.3 observed at 4 hr.<h4>Conclusion</h4>These findings link the teratogenic effect of ethanol to the induction of maternal MT and the limitation of fetal Zn supply from the plasma.
Keywords: Liver
Mice, Inbred C57BL
Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects
Central Nervous System Depressants
DOI: 10.1111/j.1530-0277.2000.tb04593.x
Appears in Collections:Aurora harvest 2
Physiology publications

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