Chinese researchers found that maternal alcohol consumption during pregnancy has detrimental effects on fetal central nervous system development. Maternal alcohol consumption prior to and during pregnancy significantly affects cognitive functions in offspring, which may be related to changes in the enzyme cyclin-dependent kinase 5. The enzyme is associated with modulation of synaptic plasticity and impaired learning and memory.

Professor Ruiling Zhang and team from Xinxiang Medical University in China explored the correlation between cycling-dependent kinase 5 expression in the hippocampus and neurological impairments following prenatal ethanol exposure.

They found that prenatal ethanol exposure could affect cycling-dependent kinase 5 and its activator p35 in the hippocampus of offspring rats.

The findings were published in the journal Neural Regeneration Research.