Effect of gestational ethanol exposure on parvalbumin and calretinin expressing hippocampal neurons in a chick model of fetal alcohol syndrome

Audrey G. Marshall, Molly M. McCarthy, Kirk M. Brishnehan, Venugopal Rao, Lyn M. Batia, Madhul Gupta, Srijit Das, Nilesh K. Mitra, Joydeep D. Chaudhuri*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), a condition occurring in some children of mothers who have consumed alcohol during pregnancy, is characterized by physical deformities and learning and memory deficits. The chick hippocampus, whose functions are controlled by interneurons expressing calcium-binding proteins parvalbumin (PV) and calretinin (CR), is involved in learning and memory mechanisms. Effects on growth and development and hippocampal morphology were studied in chick embryos exposed to 5% and 10% ethanol volume/volume (vol/vol) for 2 or 8 days of gestation. There was a significant dose-dependent reduction (P < .05) in body weight and mean number per section of PV and CR expressing hippocampal neurons in ethanol-exposed chicks, without alterations in neuronal nuclear size or hippocampal volume, compared appropriate controls. Moreover, when chicks exposed to 5% ethanol for 2 and 8 days of gestation were compared, no significant differences were found in body parameters or neuronal counts. Similarly, exposure to 10% ethanol did not induce any significant changes in chicks exposed for 2 or 8 gestational days. Thus, these results suggest that gestational ethanol exposure induces a reduction in the mean number per section of PV and CR expressing hippocampal neurons, and could be a possible mechanism responsible for learning and memory disorders in FAS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)147-161
Number of pages15
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Calretinin
  • Chicks
  • FAS
  • Hippocampus
  • Learning
  • Memory
  • Parvalbumin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Biochemistry
  • Toxicology
  • Neurology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

Cite this