Transgenerational effects of binge drinking in a primate model Implications for human health

Binge drinking affects the developmental potential and gene expression of oocytes. The incidence of binge drinking in women, and its biological effects in primates, indicate an important public health concern.


Catherine A. VandeVoort, Ph.D., Kristin N. Grimsrud, D.V.M., Ph.D., Uros Midic, Ph.D., Namdori Mtango, Ph.D., Keith E. Latham, Ph.D.

Volume 103, Issue 2, Pages 560-569



To determine if binge ethanol consumption before ovulation affects oocyte quality, gene expression, and subsequent embryo development.


Binge levels of ethanol were given twice weekly for 6 months, followed by a standard in vitro fertilization cycle and subsequent natural mating.


National primate research center.


Adult female rhesus monkeys.


Binge levels of ethanol, given twice weekly for 6 months before a standard in vitro fertilization cycle with or without embryo culture. With in vivo development, ethanol treatment continued until pregnancy was identified.

Main Outcome Measure(s):

Oocyte and cumulus/granulosa cell gene expression, embryo development to blastocyst, and pregnancy rate.


Embryo development in vitro was reduced; changes were found in oocyte and cumulus cell gene expression; and spontaneous abortion during very early gestation increased.


This study provides evidence that binge drinking can affect the developmental potential of oocytes even after alcohol consumption has ceased.

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