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Keywords:

  • Prenatal Ethanol Exposure;
  • NMDAR1;
  • NMDAR2A;
  • NMDAR2B;
  • Western Blots

The effects of prenatal ethanol exposure on the NMDARl protein expression (postnatal days 1 and 7) and on the developmental profile of the NMDAR2A and NMDAR2B subunits in rat forebrain and hippocampus were investigated. Forebrain and hippocampal membrane proteins were isolated from pups of various ages (postnatal days 1 to 21) from prenatally ethanol exposed, pairfed and ad libitum control groups. A semiquantitative immunoblot procedure was used with antibodies raised against the NMDAR1, NMDAR2A, and the NMDAR2B subunits to assess the NMDA subunit protein expression. In the samples, NMDAR1 protein expression was unaffected by prenatal ethanol exposure at postnatal day 1 or 7 in both the forebrain and hippocampus. NMDAR2A protein expression levels rose rapidly. In both forebrain and hippocampus during the time frame of study. Renatal ethanol exposure caused a significant reduction in protein expression levels of the NMDAR2A in forebrain through postnatal day 14. NMDAR2B protein expression levels were high throughout the study in both forebrain and hippocampus. Prenatal ethanol exposure significantly reduced protein expression of the NMDAR2B in the forebrain (through postnatal day 14) and hippocampus (up to day 7). The results suggest that there may be a link between the depressed expression of the NMDAR2 subunits and the neurodevelopmental disorders associated with fetal ethanol exposure.