Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

The development of pathologies during pregnancy, including preeclampsia, hypertension and fetal growth restriction (FGR), often originates from poor functioning of the placenta. In vivo models of maternal stressors, such as nutrient deficiency, and placental insufficiency often focus on inadequate growth of the fetus and placenta in late gestation. These studies rarely investigate the origins of poor placental formation in early gestation, including those affecting the pre-implantation embryo and/or the uterine environment. The current study characterises the impact on blastocyst, uterine and placental outcomes in a ratmodel of periconceptional alcohol exposure, in which 12.5% ethanol is administered in a liquid diet from 4 days before until 4 days after conception. We show female-specific effects on trophoblast differentiation, embryo-uterine communication, and formation of the placental vasculature, resulting in markedly reduced placental volume at embryonic day 15. Both sexes exhibited reduced trophectodermpluripotency and global hypermethylation, suggestive of inappropriate epigenetic reprogramming. Furthermore, evidence of reduced placental nutrient exchange and reduced pre-implantation maternal plasma choline levels offers significant mechanistic insight into the origins of FGR in this model.

Original publication




Journal article


Development (Cambridge)

Publication Date