Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine: Peptides prevent fetal alcohol syndrome

April 1, 2010

Having previously shown that prenatal treatment with neuroprotective peptides prevents alcohol-induced fetal anomalies and learning deficits during embryonic development, new research demonstrates how they do so using a model of pregnant mice.

Having previously shown that prenatal treatment with neuroprotective peptides NAP+SAL prevents alcohol-induced fetal anomalies and learning deficits during embryonic development, researchers from the National Institutes of Health and Columbia University attempted to demonstrate how they do so using a model of pregnant mice.

Knowing that brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is essential to normal neuronal development and survival as well as to synaptic plasticity, Maddalena Incerti, MD, and colleagues decided to look at whether NAP+SAL's neuroprotective effects are mediated by preventing alcohol-induced changes in BDNF expression.

To do so, they treated pregnant mice on day 8 with alcohol (0.03 mL/g), placebo, or alcohol and peptides (20 g, 30 minutes before alcohol). They then harvested embryos at 6 hours, 24 hours, and day 10.

Incerti M, Vink J, Benassou I, Roberson R, Abebe D, Spong C. Prevention of the alcohol-induced changes in brain-derived neurotrophic factor expression using neuroprotective peptides in a model of fetal alcohol syndrome [abstract]. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2009;201(6 suppl):S31. Abstract 54.