Assessing the Vasculature Changes in Murine Fetal Brain Upon Alcohol Exposure


Fetal Alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) refers to a broad spectrum of abnormalities that arise due to prenatal alcohol exposure (PAE). The severity of the abnormality depends on the amount of alcohol consumed and period of consumption during gestation. A large number of women continue to consume alcohol even during the second trimester of pregnancy, a critical period for fetal neurogenesis and angiogenesis. OCT is an optical analog of ultrasound. 3D non-invasive imaging technique with high spatial resolution. OCT has shown to be extremely useful in embryonic imaging. Speckle variance OCT (SVOCT), is a functional extension of OCT that has been used to study vasculature development in embryos. We use SVOCT, to detect vasculature changes in the embryonic brain in utero, minutes after maternal alcohol consumption. The results show that there is a decrease in fetal vessel diameter within the first 10 minutes and it persisted for 45 minutes after maternal alcohol consumption, indicating that ethanol is a possible vasoconstrictor on the fetal brain. This project was completed with contributions from Rajesh C. Miranda from the Neuroscience and Experimental Therapeutics, Texas A&M Health Science Center.