Supplement May Prevent Alcohol-Related Brain, Skull Defects

28 May 2010 --- Alcohol consumption in early pregnancy increases levels of a little-known lipid called ceramide, significantly increasing suicide among cells critical to skull and brain formation.

--- The dietary supplement CDP-choline, sold as a brain-boosting agent and under study for stroke and traumatic brain injury, may block skull and brain damage that can result from alcohol consumption early in pregnancy, Medical College of Georgia researchers report.

Alcohol consumption in early pregnancy increases levels of a little-known lipid called ceramide, significantly increasing suicide among cells critical to skull and brain formation, Dr. Erhard Bieberich, biochemist in the MCG Schools of Graduate Studies and Medicine, reports in Cell Death and Disease.

Resulting neural crest damage includes the brain's "skin" – the multi-layered meninges that provides protection and nourishment producing less TGF-β1, a growth factor critical for brain and bone development. That finding may help explain the cranial bone and cognitive defects that can result in fetal alcohol syndrome.

"There is just a little window," Bieberich said, about four weeks after conception when neural crest cells emerge for a few days before morphing into other cell types that help form numerous organs. This is often before a woman knows she is pregnant. The studies indicate the potential for lasting damage to the fetus if a woman drinks, for example, several glasses of wine within an hour during that window.

MCG researchers suspected ceramide, known to induce cell death and be activated by alcohol, as a culprit in the damage. They found high levels of ceramide both in mouse cells and pregnant mice exposed to alcohol along with a five-fold increase in apoptotic, or dying cells. "There is a clear correlation," he said.

Researchers thought neural crest cells were tough cells whose function could be replaced if they happened to get injured. Instead they found that 25 percent of mouse embryos exposed to alcohol during that critical period had defects in the fibrous joints that connect the skull. "You get a snowball effect: The neural crest is damaged, the meninges doesn't develop properly and tissue like bone and brain that are regulated by the meninges don't develop properly either," Bieberich said.

When they added ceramide-neutralizing CDP-choline to the mouse cells, cell death and ceramide levels were reduced. Alcohol prompts the body to produce more ceramide from the brain lipid sphingomyelin, a major component of cell membranes. They found that CDP-choline pushes back toward producing less ceramide, preventing damage providing the drinking stops.

"Ceramide can be bad or good," notes Bieberich, who has shown, for example, ceramide's role in helping early stem cells evolve into embryonic tissue. But alcohol upsets the natural balance.

Follow up studies, funded by the March of Dimes, include determining whether CDP-choline can rescue cells after the fact or whether it or a similar supplement would need to be taken preventively. "Hopefully we can rescue some of the cells by triggering or signaling the back reaction," Bieberich said. He also wants to see if CDP-choline affords the same protection in pregnant mice that it does in laboratory cells.
 

To contact our editorial team please email us at editorial@cnsmedia.com

Related Articles

Nutrition & Health News

In your blood: Blood sample could uncover whether a person is following their prescribed diet

20 Jun 2018 --- Clinical trials of diets and their health impacts are often plagued by participants’ poor adherence to assigned diets, making it difficult to detect the true effects of those diets. An analysis of small molecules called “metabolites” in a blood sample may be used to determine whether a person is following a prescribed diet, scientists at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health have shown. The new approach, described in a paper in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, could provide an objective and relatively easy-to-obtain measure of dietary adherence, potentially greatly reducing the uncertainty of dietary intake estimates.

Nutrition & Health News

Confusing cereals? UK consumer group calls for clearer labeling post Brexit

20 Jun 2018 --- A Which? investigation into the sugar content of “adult” breakfast cereals has unveiled high sugar levels and ignited calls for the UK Government to make traffic light labeling mandatory after Brexit, when EU laws are transferred to British law.

Nutrition & Health News

“Smarter, not sweeter”: General Mills launches high protein yogurt range – but it's not Greek

20 Jun 2018 --- General Mills has introduced YQ by Yoplait, a new yogurt made with ultra-filtered milk that delivers big on protein with an intentionally less sweet taste. With the launch of the yogurt, the company is catering to the needs of a range of health conscious consumers looking for a convenient dairy product that can be eaten alone as a snack, blended with fruit in a smoothie or added as an ingredient in many recipes.

Nutrition & Health News

New technology opens up space for creatine in liquid delivery forms: Prinova

20 Jun 2018 --- Microencapsulation technology, developed by AnaBio and distributed by Prinova, offers new potential for Creatine to be used in liquid applications. Typically, the sports nutrition ingredient is highly unstable in water, which reduces its effectiveness in ready-to-drink products.

Nutrition & Health News

Personalized nutrition: Mindful and aware consumers drive market opportunity

19 Jun 2018 --- Personalized nutrition has taken its place as a key industry topic, spurring the launch of a number of innovative start-ups using cutting-edge technologies to offer precise nutrition advice to consumers. This growing industry space will be the topic of discussion at the Personalized Nutrition Innovation Summit, which is taking place in San Francisco on June 26-27.

More Articles
URL : http://www.nutritioninsight.com:80/news/Supplement-May-Prevent-Alcohol-Related-Brain-Skull-Defects.html