Roles of Alcohol +
Tobacco as Causes of Brain Developmental Abnormalities
Alcohol exposure during development
causes fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD), which causes ADD or
mental retardation. In addition, infants have low birth weights
and often don't survive. Alcohol produces these effects by causing
insulin resistance (diabetes-type injury) and oxidative stress, which
cause cells to die. Recent studies showed that alcohol-associated
damage could be made much worse by smoking. We plan to test this
hypothesis. The summer student could help generate the model and
study the rat pups behavioral tests. The main goals are to
determine if compared with smoking or alcohol alone, smoking + alcohol
causes worse changes of: 1) FASD; and 2) brain insulin
resistance/oxidative stress. Basic laboratory techniques will be
taught; this will help the student prepare for advanced education.
We will guide the student in preparing a poster or platform presentation
of data generated over the summer. The research may be continued
during the next academic year.
This project involves the use of vertebrate animals.