ZFIN ID: ZDB-PUB-171204-38
Embryonic Ethanol Exposure Affects Early- and Late-Added Cardiac Precursors and Produces Long-Lasting Heart Chamber Defects in Zebrafish
Sarmah, S., Marrs, J.A.
Drinking mothers expose their fetuses to ethanol, which produces birth defects: craniofacial defects, cognitive impairment, sensorimotor disabilities and organ deformities, collectively termed as fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD). Various congenital heart defects (CHDs) are present in FASD patients, but the mechanisms of alcohol-induced cardiogenesis defects are not completely understood. This study utilized zebrafish embryos and older larvae to understand FASD-associated CHDs. Ethanol-induced cardiac chamber defects initiated during embryonic cardiogenesis persisted in later zebrafish life. In addition, myocardial damage was recognizable in the ventricle of the larvae that were exposed to ethanol during embryogenesis. Our studies of the pathogenesis revealed that ethanol exposure delayed differentiation of first and second heart fields and reduced the number of early- and late-added cardiomyocytes in the heart. Ethanol exposure also reduced the number of endocardial cells. Together, this study showed that ethanol-induced heart defects were present in late-stage zebrafish larvae. Reduced numbers of cardiomyocytes partly accounts for the ethanol-induced zebrafish heart defects.