Maternal alcohol use during pregnancy exposes both premature and term newborns to the toxicity of alcohol and its metabolites. Foetal alcohol exposure adversely effects the lung. In contrast to the adult “alcoholic lung” phenotype, an inability to identify the newborn exposed to alcohol in utero has limited our understanding of its effect on adverse pulmonary outcomes. This paper will review advances in biomarker development of in utero alcohol exposure. We will highlight the current understanding of in utero alcohol's toxicity to the developing lung and immune defense. Finally, we will present recent clinical evidence describing foetal alcohol's association with adverse pulmonary outcomes including bronchopulmonary dysplasia, viral infections such as respiratory syncytial virus and allergic asthma/atopy. With research to define alcohol's effect on the lung and translational studies accurately identifying the exposed offspring, the full extent of alcohol's effects on clinical respiratory outcomes of the newborn or child can be determined.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.