Functional in Vivo Optoacoustic Imaging Unravels Effects of Prenatal Alcohol Use on Fetal Brain Vasculature and Cardiac Function

Maryam Hatami, Ph.D.
SEC 206
Prenatal alcohol exposure adversely impacts fetal development and causes anatomical,
behavioral, and neurocognitive disorders. It is well recognized that prenatal alcohol
exposure, especially during late gestation, is associated with detrimental effects on
myocardial development and developmental fetal brain vasculatures with implications
for the postnatal brain and cardiac functions. However, the immediate impact of
prenatal alcohol use on fetal brain and cardiac function is still unclear. To advance the
evaluation of the effects of prenatal alcohol exposure on fetal cardiac and brain
function, there is a desperate need for a noninvasive in vivo imaging tool capable of
imaging in utero with high contrast and adequate spatial resolution. Optoacoustic (OA)
imaging is an emerging technique that benefits from combining high acoustic resolution
and high optical contrast. Real-time imaging has also been realized in this technique
using the ultrasound array detectors with high frame rate volumetric image acquisition.
I present some of our recent work looking at the effect of acute prenatal alcohol use on
murine embryonic heart rate and brain vasculature using OA tomography.