Transgenerational inheritance of fetal alcohol exposure adverse effects on immune gene interferon-ϒ

Gangisetty, O., Palagani, A. & Sarkar, D.K. Transgenerational inheritance of fetal alcohol exposure adverse effects on immune gene interferon-Ï’. Clin Epigenet 12, 70 (2020).



Alcohol exposures in utero have been shown to alter immune system functions in the offspring which persists into adulthood. However, it is not apparent why the in utero alcohol effect on the immune system persists into adulthood of fetal alcohol-exposed offspring. The objective of this study was to determine the long-term effects of fetal alcohol exposure on the production of interferon-Ï’ (IFN-Ï’), a cytokine known to regulate both innate and adaptive immunity.


Isogenic Fisher 344 rats were bred to produce pregnant dams, which were fed with a liquid diet containing 6.7% alcohol between gestation days 7 and 21 and pair-fed with an isocaloric liquid diet or fed ad libitum with rat chow; their male and female offspring were used for the study. F1-F3 generation rats were used when they were 2 to 3 months old. Fetal alcohol exposure effects on the Ifn-É£ gene was determined by measuring the gene promoter methylation and mRNA and protein expression in the spleen. Additionally, transgenerational studies were conducted to evaluate the germline-transmitted effects of fetal alcohol exposure on the Ifn-É£ gene.


Fetal alcohol exposure reduced the expression of Ifn-É£ mRNA and IFN-Ï’ protein while it increased the proximal promoter methylation of the Ifn-É£ gene in both male and female offspring during the adult period. Transgenerational studies revealed that the reduced levels of Ifn-É£ expression and increased levels of its promoter methylation persisted only in F2 and F3 generation males derived from the male germ line.


Overall, these findings provide the evidence that fetal alcohol exposures produce an epigenetic mark on the Ifn-É£ gene that passes through multiple generations via the male germ line. These data provide the first evidence that the male germ line transmits fetal alcohol exposure’s adverse effects on the immune system.

Click here for open access research article.

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Updated May 2020: ‘Your Guide To AISH’

The AISH program

The Assured Income for Severely Handicapped (AISH) program provides financial and health benefits to eligible adult Albertans with a permanent medical condition that prevents them from earning a living.

If you are eligible for AISH you may receive:

  • a monthly living allowance – money to pay for your living costs such as food, rent and utilities
  • a monthly child benefit – money to assist you with raising your dependent children
  • health benefits – assistance to cover health needs for you, your spouse or partner and your dependent children
  • personal benefits – money over and above your monthly living allowance for specific needs such as a special diet or assistance in an emergency

This guide will help you learn more about the AISH program and benefits. You can also get information from any AISH office listed at the end of this guide, the Alberta Supports Contact Centre, or the AISH Policy Manual at

Your Guide to AISH contains general information about the Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped (AISH) program and reflects what is in AISH legislation, regulations and the AISH Policy Manual. If there are any differences between what is in this document, the policy manual and the legislation and regulations, the legislation and regulations shall prevail.

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Click here to download the AISH guide.


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New eLearning courses available for justice and solicitor general professionals!

CanFASD has recently released two new online courses for professionals in the Justice and Solicitor General systems.


At CanFASD we offer a wide range of online courses to improve professional and community understanding of FASD. Our courses are categorized by level of experience, where Level I courses provide a basic overview, Level II courses provide sector-specific training, and Level III courses provide expert training to FASD professionals. We have recently added two new Level II courses to our repertoire: FASD for Judicial and Legal Professionals and FASD for Solicitor General Professionals.

Legal issues are a common experience for individuals with FASD. Some researchers have found that as many as 60% of adolescents and adults with FASD have a history of trouble with the law. Furthermore, it is estimated that 10-23% of individuals in the criminal justice system have FASD. A “one size fits all” approach to justice will not likely be effective for improving outcomes for those with FASD. It is important that professionals working in justice systems have a strong understanding of FASD, the unique challenges this population may face, and strategies for responding and supporting them effectively

Our new Level II courses are designed for professionals working in the Legal and Judicial, and Solicitor General systems. They provide learners with a better understanding of how FASD impacts a person’s involvement with the justice system, challenge some of the common assumptions about FASD and justice-involvement, and provide helpful strategies and suggestions for working with justice-involved individuals with FASD. There are also interactive case examples to help reinforce the course content.

Learners who complete these courses will be equipped with evidence-based information practice-informed recommendations, and access to many resources that can be easily and effectively integrated into their practice and approach to working with individuals with FASD. All of this information is presented within the context of Canadian legal parameters, and tailored to profession-specific opportunities an

It is recommended that learners who are interested in these courses first complete Level I Foundations in FASD Course, which provides fundamental knowledge and information about FASD further built upon in the Level II justice

For more information about FASD and the criminal justice system, check out our issue paper.


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Looking for research participants for an online study!

Would you like to participate in a study looking at how physical health and brain function are related in Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD)? Follow this link to sign up or read more about the study below!

Researchers and health professionals know that alcohol exposure during fetal development can impact the brain. This impact can lead to difficulties in memory, attention, problem solving, and other complex brain functions, which are commonly experienced by individuals diagnosed with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD).

What researchers are beginning to understand is how this alcohol exposure can also affect one’s physical health. The authors of a recent study found that chronic illnesses may be more prevalent in individuals diagnosed with FASD when compared to the general population. We know that managing chronic illnesses is difficult. Skills such as planning and organization are essential in tasks such as remembering appointments and taking medications as prescribed. Therefore, researchers at the University of British Columbia are conducting a study on chronic health in young adults diagnosed with FASD or Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS). Specifically, we are interested in how brain impairment and physical health are related in this population, and how they affect the quality of day to day life.

If you are a young adult (18-30 years old) with a diagnosis of FASD or FAS, and are fluent in English, you are invited to participate in this study. You will be asked to complete an online questionnaire about aspects of your medical history, behaviour, and day to day life. This questionnaire will take approximately 20-30 minutes to complete. All information collected will remain confidential. We hope that this research brings awareness regarding the complexities of individuals with FASD to health professionals and the general population. Also, we hope that it will inform future interventions for FASD.

If you are interested in participating, please follow this link to the online questionnaire!

Written by Aisha Ghani, B.A. from the University of British Columbia


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CanFASD New Webinar Announced: Towards Healthy Outcomes!

We’re excited to announce that we will be continuing our CanFASD Webinar series! Our next presentation is from CanFASD Senior Research Lead, Dr. Jacqueline Pei. She will be talking about her intervention framework Towards Healthy Outcomes for Individuals with FASD.

Achieving healthy outcomes for individuals with FASD requires working together towards meaningful goals for each individual. Recognizing this need, her and her team of researchers produced an evidence-informed model to help us to identify key needs for all humans – with specific consideration for how existing research can inform our practice.

This model looks at intervention across an individual’s developmental lifespan. It is enacted within interactive systems and is strength-based and empowered.

This 90 minute presentation will be held on Friday June 5, 2020 at 1:00pm EST. Sign up here to register.

This is the second presentation in CanFASD’s Webinar Series. This series is one of our responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, designed to bring evidence-informed research on FASD to Canadians from the comfort of their own homes. You can watch our first webinar with 2020 Sterling Clarren FASD Award winner, John Aspler, below.

CCSA: New Resources on Alcohol and the Immune System

EnglishLogoDear colleague,

There has been a marked increase in alcohol use since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. With this increased use and media attention on alcohol, there is an increased need for accurate information about the health impacts of alcohol use.

This is a crucial time for clear messages about alcohol use, overall health and the immune system.

CCSA has developed a new resource, Alcohol and the Immune System: 4 Things You Should Know, to provide clear facts about alcohol and the immune system and what you can do to minimize risks to your health. It has never been more important to correct misinformation and highlight that alcohol does not improve health, kill viruses or improve our ability to ward off illness.

Key facts include:

  • Alcohol consumption contributes to a wide range of health problems and can weaken the body’s immune system.
  • High-risk alcohol use reduces the body’s ability to fight off illnesses.
  • Chronic high-risk alcohol use can weaken lung immune responses and increases the risk of developing respiratory illnesses, such as pneumonia and acute respiratory distress syndrome.
  • Alcohol use does not stimulate the immune system or increase resistance to illness.

In addition to this resource, CCSA has released a suite of supporting resources:

These resources are available on CCSA’s COVID-19 resource section featuring resources on the impacts of COVID-19 and substance use from trusted sites and original publications from our experts.

If you have any questions about CCSA’s alcohol resources or want to know more about our work on alcohol, please email If you have any questions about our cannabis resources, please e-mail

Thank you


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