Relationships of alcohol dehydrogenase 1B (ADH1B) and aldehyde dehydrogenase 2 (ALDH2) genotypes with alcohol sensitivity, drinking behavior and problem drinking in Japanese older men

  • Marowa Hashimoto
  • Masutaka Watanabe
  • Yuji Uematsu
  • Sonomi Hattori
  • Nobuyuki Miyai
  • Miyoko Utsumi
  • Mayumi Oka
  • Mariko Hayashida
  • Kenji Kinoshita
  • Mikio Arita
  • Tatsuya TakeshitaEmail author
Regular Article



Many East Asians have the genetic polymorphisms rs1229984 in alcohol dehydrogenase 1B (ADH1B) and rs671 in aldehyde dehydrogenase 2 (ALDH2). Here we analyzed the relationships of the two genotypes with alcohol sensitivity, drinking behavior and problem drinking among older and younger men living in rural areas of Japan.


The subjects were 718 Japanese men aged 63.3 ± 10.8 (mean ± SD), categorized into the older (≥65 years, n = 357) and younger (<65 years, n = 361) groups. Facial flushing frequency, drinking behavior and positive CAGE results were compared among the genotypes using Bonferroni-corrected χ2 test and a multivariate logistic regression analysis adjusting for age, BMI and lifestyle factors.


The frequency of ‘always’ facial flushing among the ADH1B*1/*2 carriers was significantly lower than that among the ADH1B*2/*2 carriers in the older group (P < 0.01). The alcohol consumption (unit/day) in the ADH1B*1/*2 carriers tended to be higher compared with that in the ADH1B*2/*2 carriers among the older group (P = 0.050). In the younger group, no significant differences in alcohol sensitivity and drinking habits were generally found among the ADH1B genotypes. The ADH1B*1/*1 genotype tended to be positively associated with problem drinking in the older group (P = 0.080) but not in the younger group. The ALDH2 genotypes consistently and strongly affected the alcohol sensitivity, drinking behavior and problem drinking in both the younger and older group.


We for the first time observed a significant difference in alcohol sensitivity between ADH1B*1/*2 and ADH1B*2/*2 in older men aged 65 and above.


Alcohol dehydrogenase 1B Aldehyde dehydrogenase 2 Aging Alcohol sensitivity Problem drinking behavior 



This study was conducted with a Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, Japan (25460811 and 25350894) and with a Grant-in-Aid from the Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development, AMED (15ck0106102h0102).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors have declared that no conflicts of interest exist.


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Copyright information

© The Japanese Society for Hygiene 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marowa Hashimoto
    • 1
  • Masutaka Watanabe
    • 1
  • Yuji Uematsu
    • 2
  • Sonomi Hattori
    • 2
  • Nobuyuki Miyai
    • 2
  • Miyoko Utsumi
    • 2
  • Mayumi Oka
    • 2
  • Mariko Hayashida
    • 3
  • Kenji Kinoshita
    • 3
  • Mikio Arita
    • 2
  • Tatsuya Takeshita
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Public Health, School of MedicineWakayama Medical UniversityWakayamaJapan
  2. 2.School of Health and Nursing SciencesWakayama Medical UniversityWakayamaJapan
  3. 3.School of Pharmaceutical SciencesMukogawa Woman’s UniversityNishinomiyaJapan

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