Prenatal ethanol exposure may cause both, altered fetal neurodevelopment and impaired placental function. These disturbances can lead to growth retardation, which is one of the most prevalent features in Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS). It is not known whether there is a specific pattern of cytotoxicity caused by ethanol that can be extrapolated to other cell types. The aim of this study was to determine the cytotoxic effects caused by sustained exposure of trophoblast cells to ethanol. The cytotoxic effect of sustained exposure to standard doses of ethanol on an in vitro human trophoblast cell line, JEG3, was examined. Viable cell count by exclusion method, total protein concentration, lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) activity and activation of apoptotic markers (P-H2AX, caspase-3 and PARP-1) were determined. Sustained exposure to ethanol decreased viable cell count and total protein concentration. LDH activity did not increased in exposed cells but apoptotic markers were detected. In addition, there was a dose-dependent relationship between ethanol concentration and apoptotic pathways activation. Sustained ethanol exposure causes cellular cytotoxicity by apoptotic pathways induction as a result of DNA damage. This apoptotic induction may partially explain the altered function of placental cells and the damage previously detected in other tissues. © 2013 Elsevier Ireland Ltd.
- Cytotoxic effect