Alcohol and the developing brain: Why neurons die and how survivors change

Alberto Granato*, Benjamin Dering

*Autore corrispondente per questo lavoro

Risultato della ricerca: Contributo in rivistaArticolo in rivista

14 Citazioni (Scopus)


The consequences of alcohol drinking during pregnancy are dramatic and usually referred to as fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD). This condition is one of the main causes of intellectual disability in Western countries. The immature fetal brain exposed to ethanol undergoes massive neuron death. However, the same mechanisms leading to cell death can also be responsible for changes of developmental plasticity. As a consequence of such a maladaptive plasticity, the functional damage to central nervous system structures is amplified and leads to permanent sequelae. Here we review the literature dealing with experimental FASD, focusing on the alterations of the cerebral cortex. We propose that the reciprocal interaction between cell death and maladaptive plasticity represents the main pathogenetic mechanism of the alcohol-induced damage to the developing brain.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)2992-3003
Numero di pagine12
RivistaInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2018


  • Animals
  • Apoptosis
  • Brain
  • Catalysis
  • Cell Death
  • Cell Survival
  • Cerebral cortex
  • Computer Science Applications1707 Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Ethanol
  • Fetal alcohol
  • GABA
  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Neuronal Plasticity
  • Neurons
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Pyramidal neurons
  • Spectroscopy


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