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Brain DevelopmentNormal Processes and the Effects of Alcohol and Nicotine$
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Michael W. Miller

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780195183139

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195183139.001.0001

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Prenatal Ethanol Exposure and Fetal Programming: Implications for Endocrine and Immune Development and Long-Term Health

Prenatal Ethanol Exposure and Fetal Programming: Implications for Endocrine and Immune Development and Long-Term Health

Chapter:
(p.153) 10 Prenatal Ethanol Exposure and Fetal Programming: Implications for Endocrine and Immune Development and Long-Term Health
Source:
Brain Development
Author(s):

Joanna H. Sliwowska

Xingqi Zhang

Joanne Weinberg

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195183139.003.0010

This chapter discusses the adverse effects of prenatal ethanol exposure on neuroendocrine and immune function, with particular emphasis on the concept of fetal programming in the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, a key player in the stress response. The HPA axis is highly susceptible to programming during fetal and neonatal development. Early environmental experiences, including exposure to ethanol, can reprogram to HPA axis such that HPA tone is increased throughout life. The chapter presents data showing that gestational ethanol exposure increases HPA activity in both the pregnant female and the offspring. Increased exposure to endogenous glucocorticoids over the lifespan can alter behavioral and physiological responsiveness and predispose the organism to the development of certain diseases later in life.

Keywords:   endogenous glucocorticoids, stress response, fetal programming, hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis

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