Maternal Alcohol Consumption During Pregnancy Affects Learning and Memory Function in Offspring

First Posted: Jul 20, 2013 08:49 AM EDT

A latest study highlights the association between maternal alcohol consumption during pregnancy and its effect on the learning and memory function of the infant.

Whether or not a pregnant woman should consume alcohol during pregnancy has been a subject of debate for a long a time. Despite several studies that highlight the ill effects of alcohol consumption by pregnant woman, there are studies that support moderate drinking during pregnancy. Such mixed results drinking definitely create doubts in the minds of pregnant women.

latest study gives pregnant women a strong reason to avoid alcohol. The new finding reveals that drinking alcohol during pregnancy has a damaging effect on the development of the fetus's central nervous system.

Maternal alcohol consumption during or prior to pregnancy affects the cognitive functions in the offspring that is linked to the changes in Cyclin-dependent kinase 5 (CDK5),an enzyme in human beings that is required for the complete development of the brain. And the dysregulation of this enzyme causes neurodegenerative diseases. And this is linked to modulation of synaptic plasticity and impaired learning and memory.

The association between CDK5 in hippocampus and the neurological impairments that are caused due to prenatal exposure to ethanol, was explored by Prof. Ruiling Zhang and team from Xinxiang Medical University.

They conducted an experiment on rats and noticed that prenatal exposure to ethanol affected CDK5 along with its activator p35 in the hippocampus of rats' offsprings.

The study offers a new technique to treat the consequences of prenatal exposure to ethanol.

The study details were published in Neural Regeneration Research. 

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