Journal Article

Roles of the Genetic Polymorphisms of Alcohol-Metabolizing Enzymes on the Immunology in High-Risk Drinkers

Yang-Ming Tseng, Shih-Meng Tsai, Sheng-Yi Chen, Chun-Chin Lin, Yi-Ru Jin, Wei-Hao Yeh, Yi-Ru Wu, Ing-Jun Chen, Jang-Hwa Lee and Li-Yu Tsai

in Toxicological Sciences

Volume 111, issue 2, pages 267-276
Published in print October 2009 | ISSN: 1096-6080
Published online June 2009 | e-ISSN: 1096-0929 | DOI:
Roles of the Genetic Polymorphisms of Alcohol-Metabolizing Enzymes on the Immunology in High-Risk Drinkers

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Alcohol metabolism involves several enzymes and the individual genetic variations in the alcohol metabolism are related to the absorption, distribution, and elimination of alcohol and metabolites such as acetaldehyde. Therefore, the genetic variations of alcohol-metabolizing enzymes are responsible for the different toxicity of alcohol in several organs like liver and immunological systems. The purpose of this study was to evaluate if the life styles such as drinking and smoking and the genetic variations of alcohol-metabolizing enzymes (ADH2, ALDH2, CYP2E1, and CAT) were associated with the immunological biomarkers. In this study, 105 high-risk drinkers and 102 low-risk drinkers who were excluded from the immune-related diseases and other critical diseases were enrolled to evaluate the immunological functions. Counts of white blood cells, mononuclear cells, and lymphocyte subpopulations, and liver and immunological function tests were measured. Genotypes of alcohol-metabolizing enzymes were assayed by a real-time PCR and PCR-restriction fragment length polymorphism. Generally, the activity of aspartate aminotransferase (AST) was higher than that of alanine aminotransferase (ALT) in alcoholics; however, the activities of AST and ALT were simultaneously elevated in general hepatitis except for alcohol-induced hepatitis. Thus, the higher ratio of AST/ALT was used to be a marker for the alcohol-induced abnormal liver function. Glutamyltransferase (GGT) is produced by the liver cell microsomes and is a useful laboratory marker as an indicator of early liver cell damage. An increase in GGT concentration has been regarded as a marker of alcohol consumption or liver disease. In addition, the synergistic effects of smoking and drinking on the count of white blood cell (WBC) and mononuclear cells were found to be significant. Furthermore, there were higher OR to become high-risk drinkers in subjects with the combination of ALDH2 (*1/*1) genotype and either genotype of ADH2 or CYP2E1 than the others with other combinations of genotypes. Additionally, there were more abnormal immunological tests in the subjects with higher activity of ADH2 and lower activity of ALDH2. Our results suggested that the habits of drinking, smoking, and betel chewing, and genetic variations of alcohol metabolism were associated with the immunological biomarkers.

Keywords: high-risk drinkers; alcohol-metabolizing enzymes; genetic variations; immunology

Journal Article.  6001 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Medical Toxicology ; Toxicology (Non-medical)

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