Tamara L. Wall, PhD; Charles M. Peterson, MD; Karen P. Peterson, PhD; Mona L. Johnson, BA; Holly R. Thomasson, MD, PhD; Maury Cole, BA; Cindy L. Ehlers, PhD
About half of certain Asians have a deficiency of the low-Km aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH2) isoenzyme. This deficiency results from inheritance of mutant ALDH2*2 allele.
To determine whether Asian Americans with ALDH2*2 alleles differ from Asian Americans without this mutation in terms of blood levels of alcohol and acetaldehyde after ingestion of a moderate amount of alcohol.
Double-blind, crossover study.
Private research institute.
35 healthy Asian-American men. Three men who became ill after alcohol ingestion and one who had outlying data were excluded.
Alcoholic beverage, containing 0.56 g of alcohol per kg of body weight, or placebo beverage, containing 3 mL of alcohol, given orally on separate occasions.
Blood levels of alcohol and acetaldehyde measured before and several times after ingestion of the alcoholic or placebo beverage.
Participants with ALDH2*2 alleles had significantly higher blood acetaldehyde levels after ingesting alcoholic and placebo beverages than did participants with ALDH2*1 alleles, despite similar blood alcohol concentrations.
Blood acetaldehyde levels rather than blood alcohol concentration may mediate enhanced alcohol sensitivity among Asians with ALDH2*2 alleles.
Wall TL, Peterson CM, Peterson KP, Johnson ML, Thomasson HR, Cole M, et al. Alcohol Metabolism in Asian-American Men with Genetic Polymorphisms of Aldehyde Dehydrogenase. Ann Intern Med. ;127:376–379. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-127-5-199709010-00007
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 1997;127(5):376-379.
Prevention/Screening, Tobacco, Alcohol, and Other Substance Abuse.
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