106 research outputs found

    A Single Nucleotide Polymorphism in the RASGRF2 Gene Is Associated with Alcoholic Liver Cirrhosis in Men

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    Background Genetic polymorphisms in the RAS gene family are associated with different diseases, which may include alcohol-related disorders. Previous studies showed an association of the allelic variant rs26907 in RASGRF2 gene with higher alcohol intake. Additionally, the rs61764370 polymorphism in the KRAS gene is located in a binding site for the let-7 micro-RNA family, which is potentially involved in alcohol-induced inflammation. Therefore, this study was designed to explore the association between these two polymorphisms and susceptibility to alcoholism or alcoholic liver disease (ALD). Methods We enrolled 301 male alcoholic patients and 156 healthy male volunteers in this study. Polymorphisms were genotyped by using TaqMan® PCR assays for allelic discrimination. Allelic and genotypic frequencies were compared between the two groups. Logistic regression analysis was performed to analyze the inheritance model. Results The A allele of the RASGRF2 polymorphism (rs26907) was significantly more prevalent among alcoholic patients with cirrhosis (23.2%) compared to alcoholic patients without ALD (14.2%). This difference remained significant in the group of patients with alcohol dependence (28.8% vs. 14.3%) but not in those with alcohol abuse (15.1% vs. 14.4%). Multivariable logistic regression analysis showed that the A allele of this polymorphism (AA or GA genotype) was associated with alcoholic cirrhosis both in the total group of alcoholics (odds ratio [OR]: 2.33, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.32–4.11; P = 0.002) and in the group of patients with alcohol dependence (OR: 3.1, 95% CI: 1.50–6.20; P = 0.001). Allelic distributions of the KRAS polymorphism (rs61764370) did not differ between the groups. Conclusions To our knowledge, this genetic association study represents the first to show an association of the RASGRF2 G>A (rs26907) polymorphism with ALD in men, particularly in the subgroup of patients with AD. The findings suggest the potential relevance of the RAS gene family in alcoholism and ALD

    Abnormal Cortical Thickness Alterations in Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders and Their Relationships with Facial Dysmorphology

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    Accumulating evidence from structural brain imaging studies on individuals with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) has supported links between prenatal alcohol exposure and brain morphological deficits. Although global and regional volumetric reductions appear relatively robust, the effects of alcohol exposure on cortical thickness and relationships with facial dysmorphology are not yet known. The structural magnetic resonance imaging data from 69 children and adolescents with FASD and 58 nonexposed controls collected from 3 sites were examined using FreeSurfer to detect cortical thickness changes across the entire brain in FASD and their associations with facial dysmorphology. Controlling for brain size, subjects with FASD showed significantly thicker cortices than controls in several frontal, temporal, and parietal regions. Analyses conducted within site further revealed prominent group differences in left inferior frontal cortex within all 3 sites. In addition, increased inferior frontal thickness was significantly correlated with reduced palpebral fissure length. Consistent with previous reports, findings of this study are supportive of regional increases in cortical thickness serving as a biomarker for disrupted brain development in FASD. Furthermore, the significant associations between thickness and dysmorphic measures suggest that the severity of brain anomalies may be reflected by that of the face

    Regional brain volume reductions relate to facial dysmorphology and neurocognitive function in fetal alcohol spectrum disorders

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    Individuals with heavy prenatal alcohol exposure can experience significant deficits in cognitive and psychosocial functioning and alterations in brain structure that persist into adulthood. In this report, data from 99 participants collected across three sites (Los Angeles and San Diego, California, and Cape Town, South Africa) were analyzed to examine relationships between brain structure, neurocognitive function, facial morphology, and maternal reports of quantities of alcohol consumption during the first trimester. Across study sites, we found highly significant volume reductions in the FASD group for all of the brain regions evaluated. After correcting for scan location, age, and total brain volume, these differences remained significant in some regions of the basal ganglia and diencephalon. In alcohol-exposed subjects, we found that smaller palpebral fissures were significantly associated with reduced volumes in the diencephalon bilaterally, that greater dysmorphology of the philtrum predicted smaller volumes in basal ganglia and diencephalic structures, and that lower IQ scores were associated with both smaller basal ganglia volumes and greater facial dysmorphology. In subjects from South Africa, we found a significant negative correlation between intracranial volume and total number of drinks per week in the first trimester. These results corroborate previous reports that prenatal alcohol exposure is particularly toxic to basal ganglia and diencephalic structures. We extend previous findings by illustrating relationships between specific measures of facial dysmorphology and the volumes of particular subcortical structures, and for the first time show that continuous measures of maternal alcohol consumption during the first trimester relates to overall brain volume reduction

    Imaging the Impact of Prenatal Alcohol Exposure on the Structure of the Developing Human Brain

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    Prenatal alcohol exposure has numerous effects on the developing brain, including damage to selective brain structure. We review structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) studies of brain abnormalities in subjects prenatally exposed to alcohol. The most common findings include reduced brain volume and malformations of the corpus callosum. Advanced methods have been able to detect shape, thickness and displacement changes throughout multiple brain regions. The teratogenic effects of alcohol appear to be widespread, affecting almost the entire brain. The only region that appears to be relatively spared is the occipital lobe. More recent studies have linked cognition to the underlying brain structure in alcohol-exposed subjects, and several report patterns in the severity of brain damage as it relates to facial dysmorphology or to extent of alcohol exposure. Future studies exploring relationships between brain structure, cognitive measures, dysmorphology, age, and other variables will be valuable for further comprehending the vast effects of prenatal alcohol exposure and for evaluating possible interventions

    Structural, Metabolic, and Functional Brain Abnormalities as a Result of Prenatal Exposure to Drugs of Abuse: Evidence from Neuroimaging

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    Prenatal exposure to alcohol and stimulants negatively affects the developing trajectory of the central nervous system in many ways. Recent advances in neuroimaging methods have allowed researchers to study the structural, metabolic, and functional abnormalities resulting from prenatal exposure to drugs of abuse in living human subjects. Here we review the neuroimaging literature of prenatal exposure to alcohol, cocaine, and methamphetamine. Neuroimaging studies of prenatal alcohol exposure have reported differences in the structure and metabolism of many brain systems, including in frontal, parietal, and temporal regions, in the cerebellum and basal ganglia, as well as in the white matter tracts that connect these brain regions. Functional imaging studies have identified significant differences in brain activation related to various cognitive domains as a result of prenatal alcohol exposure. The published literature of prenatal exposure to cocaine and methamphetamine is much smaller, but evidence is beginning to emerge suggesting that exposure to stimulant drugs in utero may be particularly toxic to dopamine-rich basal ganglia regions. Although the interpretation of such findings is somewhat limited by the problem of polysubstance abuse and by the difficulty of obtaining precise exposure histories in retrospective studies, such investigations provide important insights into the effects of drugs of abuse on the structure, function, and metabolism of the developing human brain. These insights may ultimately help clinicians develop better diagnostic tools and devise appropriate therapeutic interventions to improve the condition of children with prenatal exposure to drugs of abuse