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Hum Genet. 1999 Oct;105(4):295-300.

Association of genetic polymorphisms of alcohol-metabolizing enzymes with excessive alcohol consumption in Japanese men.

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  • 1Department of Hygiene, Kanazawa Medical University, Uchinada, Ishikawa, Japan.


To evaluate the independent and interactive contributions of alcohol dehydrogenase-2 (ADH2), aldehyde dehydrogenase-2 (ALDH2) and ethanol-induced isozyme cytochrome P450-2E1 (CYP2E1) genes to alcohol consumption large enough to induce health problems, 643 healthy Japanese men aged between 23 and 64 years, recruited from two different occupational groups, were analyzed for genotype and drinking habits. The frequency of excessive alcohol consumers (EAC) who drank 90 ml or more alcohol more than 3 days a week was significantly higher in subjects possessing the ALDH2(1)/ALDH2(1) genotype than in those having ALDH2(1)/ALDH2(2) or ALDH2(2)/ALDH2(2) genotypes. A significant difference was also found in the different genotypes of CYP2E1. Moreover, a borderline significant interaction between the ALDH2 and CYP2E1 genotypes on excessive alcohol consumption was observed, i.e., the group of subjects having the c2 allele of CYP2E1 had a higher frequency of EAC than those having c1/c1 genotypes in the genotype subgroup ALDH2(1)/ALDH2(1), whereas these were not found in the heterozygote and homozygote subgroups of the ALDH2(2) allele. Neither the independent nor interactive genetic effect of ADH2 on excessive alcohol consumption was obvious. In conclusion, Japanese men with the ALDH2(1)/ALDH2(1) genotype and the c2 allele of CYP2E1 are at higher risk of showing excessive alcohol consumption.

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