MadSci Network: Medicine

Re: what chemical reaction causes fetal alcohol syndrome?

Area: Medicine
Posted By: Rolf Marteijn, Grad Student, dept of Foodscience -> Bioprocesengineering and dept. of Virology, Wageningen Agricultural University
Date: Mon Jun 23 22:02:31 1997
Area of science: Medicine
ID: 865316734.Me


I've done some literature search on the excellent site NCBI-PUBMED which has an online search in abstracts from all medical or medical-related publications, journals and the like.

I found in an article from Deltour L, Ang HL and Duester G from The Burnham Institute, La Jolla, California some useful information. Published in FASEB Jul 1996 and with the title:
Ethanol inhibition of retinoic acid synthesis as a potential mechanism for fetal alcohol syndrome.

What they tell us is in short that there is a signal molecule retinoic acid (RA) which is important for correct embryonic development. This RA is produced from retinol. The speed determining step (oxidation) in this retinol -> RA transformation can be catalyzed by the enzyme alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH). No suprise is that alcohol (ethanol) is also a substrate for ADH and therefore ethanol can, when present in high concentrations, inhibit the retinol -> RA transformation.

The authors suggest that the effects seen in fetal alcohol syndrome are (at least partly) caused by inhibition of RA production. They also show results which support this hypothesis.

Regards, and don't drink too much


Current Queue | Current Queue for Medicine | Medicine archives

Try the links in the MadSci Library for more information on Medicine.

MadSci Home | Information | Search | Random Knowledge Generator | MadSci Archives | Mad Library | MAD Labs | MAD FAQs | Ask a ? | Join Us! | Help Support MadSci

MadSci Network
© 1997, Washington University Medical School