Journal of Molecular Neuroscience

, Volume 49, Issue 1, pp 150–156 | Cite as

Neurotrophic Peptides, ADNF-9 and NAP, Prevent Alcohol-Induced Apoptosis at Midgestation in Fetal Brains of C57BL/6 Mouse

  • Youssef SariEmail author
  • Jason M. Weedman
  • Maxwell Nkrumah-Abrokwah


Prenatal alcohol exposure is known to induce fetal brain growth deficits at different embryonic stages. We focused this study on investigating the neuroprotective effects against alcohol-induced apoptosis at midgestation using activity-dependent neurotrophic factor (ADNF)-9, a peptide (SALLRSIPA) derived from activity-dependent neurotrophic factor, and NAP, a peptide (NAPVSIPQ) derived from activity-dependent neuroprotective protein. We used an established fetal alcohol exposure mouse model. On embryonic day 7 (E7), weight-matched pregnant females were assigned to the following groups: (1) ethanol liquid diet (ALC) group with 25 % (4.49 %, v/v) ethanol-derived calories, (2) pair-fed (PF) control group, (3) ALC combined with i.p. injections (1.5 mg/kg) of ADNF-9 (ALC/ADNF-9) group, (4) ALC combined with i.p. injections (1.5 mg/kg) of NAP (ALC/NAP) group, (5) PF liquid diet combined with i.p. injections of ADNF-9 (PF/ADNF-9) group, and (6) PF liquid diet combined with i.p. injections of NAP (PF/NAP) group. On day 15 (E15), fetal brains were collected, weighed, and assayed for TdT-mediated dUTP nick end labeling (TUNEL) staining. ADNF-9 or NAP was administered daily from E7 to E15 alongside PF or ALC liquid diet exposure. Our results show that NAP and ADNF-9 significantly prevented alcohol-induced weight reduction of fetal brains. Apoptosis was determined by TUNEL staining; NAP or ADNF-9 administration alongside alcohol exposure significantly prevented alcohol-induced increase in TUNEL-positive cells in primordium of the cingulate cortex and ganglionic eminence. These findings may pave the path toward potential therapeutics against alcohol intoxication during pregnancy stages.


Neuroprotection Fetal alcohol syndrome Fetal alcohol exposure Prenatal alcohol exposure TUNEL Apoptosis 



This research project was supported by Award Number R21AA017735 (Y.S.) from the National Institutes on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism or the National Institutes of Health. The authors would like to thank Charisse Montgomery for editing this research article.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Youssef Sari
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jason M. Weedman
    • 2
  • Maxwell Nkrumah-Abrokwah
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Pharmacology, College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical SciencesUniversity of ToledoToledoUSA
  2. 2.School of MedicineIndiana UniversityBloomingtonUSA

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