A Polymorphism in the Rat Liver Mitochondrial ALDH2 Gene is Associated with Alcohol Drinking Behavior
Liver mitochondrial aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH2) has a low Km for acetaldehyde and plays a major role in acetaldehyde oxidation in vivo following alcohol consumption. In humans, a single base pair mutation produces a catalytically inactive enzyme (Yoshida et al., 1984). Approximately 50% of Asians have this defective ALDH2 allele; upon ingestion of ethanol, these individuals experience classic symptoms of acetaldehyde accumulation (Mizoi et al., 1979) which deters alcohol-drinking and thus reduces the risk of becoming an alcoholic. Japanese alcoholics have a low incidence of the ALDH2-deficient phenotype (2.3%) compared with the general Japanese population (41%) suggesting that polymorphism of ALDH2 could play a role in an individual’s susceptibility to alcoholism (Harada et al., 1982).
KeywordsAldehyde Dehydrogenase ALDH2 Activity General Japanese Population ALDH2 Gene Acetaldehyde Accumulation
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