Chater-Diehl EJ, Laufer BI, Castellani CA, Alberry BL, Singh SM
The molecular basis of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) is poorly understood; however, epigenetic and gene expression changes have been implicated. We have developed a mouse model of FASD characterized by learning and memory impairment and persistent gene expression changes. Epigenetic marks may maintain expression changes over a mouse's lifetime, an area few have explored. Here, mice were injected with saline or ethanol on postnatal days four and seven. At 70 days of age gene expression microarray, methylated DNA immunoprecipitation microarray, H3K4me3 and H3K27me3 chromatin immunoprecipitation microarray were performed. Following extensive pathway analysis of the affected genes, we identified the top affected gene expression pathway as "Free radical scavenging". We confirmed six of these changes by droplet digital PCR including the caspase Casp3 and Wnt transcription factor Tcf7l2. The top pathway for all methylation-affected genes was "Peroxisome biogenesis"; we confirmed differential DNA methylation in the Acca1 thiolase promoter. Altered methylation and gene expression in oxidative stress pathways in the adult hippocampus suggests a novel interface between epigenetic and oxidative stress mechanisms in FASD.