Utilization of magnetic resonance imaging in research involving animal models of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders

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10 Scopus citations


It is well recognized that fetal alcohol exposure can profoundly damage the developing brain. The term fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) describes the range of deficits that result from prenatal alcohol exposure. Over the past two decades, researchers have used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) as a noninvasive technique to characterize anatomical, physiological, and metabolic changes in the human brain that are part of FASD. As using animal models can circumvent many of the complications inherent to human studies, researchers have established and explored a number of models involving a range of species. Using MRI-based modalities, the FASD animal models have demonstrated decreased brain volume and abnormal brain shape, disrupted cellular morphology differentiation, altered neurochemistry, and blood perfusion. These animal studies have facilitated characterization of the direct effects of ethanol; in many cases identifying specific sequelae related to the timing and dose of exposure. Further, as a result of the ability to perform traditional (such as histological) analyses on animal brains following neuroimaging experiments, this work leads to improvements in the accuracy of our interpretations of neuroimaging findings in human studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAlcohol Research: Current Reviews
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2015


  • Animal models
  • Brain
  • Central nervous system
  • Developing brain
  • Fetal alcohol effects
  • Fetal alcohol exposure
  • Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder
  • Fetal development
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Neuroimaging
  • Prenatal alcohol exposure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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