Linear versus non-linear dose-response relationship between prenatal alcohol exposure and meconium concentration of nine different fatty acid ethyl esters

J. Y. Yang, H. S. Kwak, J. Y. Han, J. S. Choi, H. K. Ahn, Y. J. Oh, E. Y. Velázquez-Armenta, A. A. Nava-Ocampo

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Presence of individual fatty acid ethyl esters (FAEEs) in meconium is considered to be a reliable biomarker of prenatal alcohol exposure, and their concentration has been found to be linearly associated with poor postnatal development, supporting the widely extended idea that ethanol is a non-threshold teratogen. However, a growing number of epidemiological studies have consistently found a lack of adverse short- and long-term fetal outcomes at low exposure levels. We therefore aimed to investigate the relationship between the concentration of individual FAEEs and prenatal alcohol exposure in meconium samples collected within the first 6 to 12?h after birth from 182 babies born to abstainer mothers and from 54 babies born to women who self-reported either light or moderate alcohol ingestion in the second or third trimester of pregnancy. In most cases, the individual FAEE concentrations were negligible and not significantly different (P >0.05) between exposed and control babies. The concentrations appeared to increase linearly with the dose only in the few babies born to mothers who reported >3 drinks/week. These results provide evidence that the correlation between prenatal alcohol exposure and individual FAEE concentrations in meconium is non-linear shape, with a threshold probably at 3 drinks/week.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Jan 1


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Toxicology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis
  • Chemical Health and Safety

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