Pearls – Teratogenic Impacts – Dose and Three Sensitivity and Repair Constellations

Dose: acute or chronic, as in binge alcohol drinking (intoxication) or alcoholism pose distinct risks. In addition, three other constellations modulate teratogenesis risks, the mother, the stage of gestation and the embryo – fetus. In each constellation the teratogenic risk reflects the respective genome, age, sex, and nutrition, among other factors.

For example, the spectrum of teratogenic impacts of alcohol, from most to least severe are teratothanasia (lethality), fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) inclusive of behavioral and learning disabilities, and often, no detectable developmental deficits.


An increasing number of investigations suggest that small of moderate amounts of alcohol consumed during early pregnancy may not be teratogenic.


Other investigations suggest that nutrition may be a greater factor than genetic maternal characteristics impacting women’s susceptibility to alcohol teratogenesis.