​Ibuprofen may block damage from fetal-alcohol exposure – The Ohio State University News

COLUMBUS, Ohio – An anti-inflammatory drug may have the potential to stall the damaging effects of alcohol on the fetal brain, a new study suggests.

Ibuprofen reduced neuroinflammation and behavioral signs of alcohol exposure in a rat model of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD).

Derick Lindquist

The study was the first to directly link alcohol-induced inflammation in the hippocampus to cognitive impairment later in the life, said Derick Lindquist, senior author and a professor of psychology at The Ohio State University.

The findings, which appear in the journal Behavioural Brain Research, could have eventual implications reaching beyond fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, because neuroinflammation is a hallmark of many neurological diseases, he said.

In humans, fetal exposure to alcohol can lead to a cluster of life-altering problems including trouble learning, remembering and paying attention. Though estimates are imprecise, experts estimate that as many as two to five of every 100 U.S. schoolchildren have lasting problems resulting from early alcohol exposure, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Recent related research showed that neuroinflammation soon after birth can impair learning and memory later in life and that anti-inflammatory treatment has the power to prevent those impairments.

In this study, Lindquist and his co-authors set out to examine the role of neuroinflammation in the development of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders and cognitive dysfunction.

Some of the animals in the study were exposed to alcohol four to nine days after birth – the scientific equivalent of the third trimester in a human pregnancy. Alcohol-exposed rats given ibuprofen had lower levels of inflammation in the brain than those given saline solution. Twenty-five days later they also exhibited enhanced long-term memory.

The research helps define the role of the brain’s immune system — and of inflammation in particular — in the development of

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