The major enzymes involved in the metabolism of ethanol are alcohol dehydrogenases (ADH) and aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH). Some of the isozymes of ADH are expressed polymorphically. Studies investigating a causal link between ADH expression and alcoholic liver disease (ALD) have so far produced conflicting results. The cytochrome P450 2E1 (CYP2E1) represents a second enzyme that can metabolize ethanol. Although normally a minor route of metabolism, its role in chronic alcoholics may be proportionately greater than in nonalcoholics because CYP2E1 is inducible by ethanol. An Rsa I restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) in the 5'-flanking region of the CYP2E1 gene has been identified. Studies have shown that the mutant allele demonstrates greater transcriptional rate, protein level, and enzyme activity when compared with the wild-type allele. The association between the Rsa I site polymorphism and ALD has been reported. In this report, we examined the genotypes of ADH2(2), ALDH2(2), and CYP2E1 in a group of healthy subjects of Mexican-American descent. The ADH2(2) and ALDH2(2) frequencies are 6% and 0%, respectively, which are similar to those which have been reported for Caucasians. In contrast, the Rsa I allele frequency of the CYP2E1 gene is 16%, which is significantly higher than in Caucasians. The high RsaI allele frequency found in Mexican-Americans suggests that it might play a role in the development of ALD in this rapidly growing minority population where ALD is common.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||5|
|State||Published - 1998|
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