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Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology

Binge Ethanol and Occyte Quality

Principal Investigator: Professor in Residence Catherine VandeVoort, Ph.D.

Research funding: National Institute of Health, R01 AA019595


The overall goal of this project is to evaluate the effects of binge-type alcohol exposure on oocyte quality. There are no studies known to us that have examined the effects of binge alcohol consumption on fertility in women or any animal model, yet binge drinking is an increasing public health concern. In this project, young adult female rhesus monkeys would be trained to drink alcohol on a schedule that simulates binge drinking in women. The effects of at least 6 months of binge ethanol on oocyte health and ovarian function would be evaluated, including two cycles of superovlation to obtain oocytes for further study. Subsequently, females would be time-mated and as soon as pregnancy is detected, all ethanol consumption would be discontinued so that only the effects of ethanol on the oocytes and pre-implantation embryos, not the fetus, will be the focus of these studies. Hormone profiles, potential for oocyte development, oocyte and granulosa cell and gene expression, embryo development and fetal and infant development will be evaluated. Additionally, oocytes and granulosa cells will be exposed to ethanol in vitro to further study mechanisms of action. By utilizing the rhesus monkey, the outcome of these experiments will have direct relevance to the effects of binge drinking in women.