In Utero Alcohol Exposure and the Alteration of Histone Marks in the Developing Fetus: An Epigenetic Phenomenon of Maternal Drinking

Ethanol is well known for its teratogenic effects during fetal development. Maternal alcohol consumption allows the developing fetus to experience the detrimental effects of alcohol exposure. Alcohol-mediated teratogenic effects can vary based on the dosage and the length of exposure. The specific mechanism of action behind this teratogenic effect is still unknown. Previous reports demonstrated that alcohol participates in epigenetic alterations, especially histone modifications during fetal development. Additional research is necessary to understand the correlation between major epigenetic events and alcohol-mediated teratogenesis such as that observed in fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD). Here, we attempted to collect all the available information concerning alcohol-mediated histone modifications during gestational fetal development. We hope that this review will aid researchers to further examine the issues associated with ethanol exposure.