Increases in insulin-like growth factor-1 level and peroxidative damage after gestational ethanol exposure in rats

Jun Ren, Z. K. Roughead, Loren E. Wold, Faye L. Norby, Sharlene Rakoczy, Renee L. Mabey, Holly M. Brown-Borg

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22 Scopus citations


Ethanol exposure during pregnancy elicits profound detrimental developmental and behavioral effects such as reduced levels of insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) in the fetus. However, few reports have addressed its impact on postpartum dams. This study was designed to examine the influence of gestational ethanol exposure on postpartum maternal organ oxidative damage and IGF-1 level. Pregnant female rats were pair-fed from Day 2 of gestation until labor with control or ethanol (6.36% (v/v)) liquid diets and were sacrificed 6 weeks after parturition (ethanol withdrawn after parturition). There was no difference in body weight during or after the gestational period between the control and ethanol groups. Litter size was significantly less for ethanol-fed dams. One-week postnatal pup survival was significantly lower in the ethanol-fed (57.1%) than the control (97.8%) group. Liver and kidney tissue IGF-1 levels and mRNA were elevated in the ethanol-fed mothers, accompanied by hepatic but not renal oxidative damage, indicated by profound lipid peroxidation (measured by malondialdehyde (MDA) and 4-hydroxynonenal (4-HNE)) and protein carbonyl formation. The levels of glutathione (GSH), glutathione disulfide (GSSG) and GSH/GSSG ratios in liver and kidney were not different between the ethanol-fed and control dams. Collectively, these data suggest that gestational ethanol exposure may lead to postpartum oxidative organ damage and a possible compensatory increase in organ IGF-1 levels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)341-347
Number of pages7
JournalPharmacological Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Gestational ethanol exposure
  • IGF-1
  • Lipid peroxidation
  • Protein carbonyl

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