ALDH2 and ADH1B Interactions in Retrospective Reports of Low-Dose Reactions and Initial Sensitivity to Alcohol in Asian American College Students

Authors

  • Susan E. Luczak,

    1. From the Department of Psychology, University of Southern California (SEL), Los Angeles, California; Department of Psychiatry, University of California (SEL, DP, SHS, TLW), San Diego, California; Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System (SHS, TLW), San Diego, California; Veterans Medical Research Foundation (MYE, TLW), San Diego, California; and Departments of Medicine and Pharmacology, Indiana University (TL), Indianapolis, Indiana.
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Danielle Pandika,

    1. From the Department of Psychology, University of Southern California (SEL), Los Angeles, California; Department of Psychiatry, University of California (SEL, DP, SHS, TLW), San Diego, California; Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System (SHS, TLW), San Diego, California; Veterans Medical Research Foundation (MYE, TLW), San Diego, California; and Departments of Medicine and Pharmacology, Indiana University (TL), Indianapolis, Indiana.
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Shoshana H. Shea,

    1. From the Department of Psychology, University of Southern California (SEL), Los Angeles, California; Department of Psychiatry, University of California (SEL, DP, SHS, TLW), San Diego, California; Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System (SHS, TLW), San Diego, California; Veterans Medical Research Foundation (MYE, TLW), San Diego, California; and Departments of Medicine and Pharmacology, Indiana University (TL), Indianapolis, Indiana.
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Mimy Y. Eng,

    1. From the Department of Psychology, University of Southern California (SEL), Los Angeles, California; Department of Psychiatry, University of California (SEL, DP, SHS, TLW), San Diego, California; Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System (SHS, TLW), San Diego, California; Veterans Medical Research Foundation (MYE, TLW), San Diego, California; and Departments of Medicine and Pharmacology, Indiana University (TL), Indianapolis, Indiana.
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Tiebing Liang,

    1. From the Department of Psychology, University of Southern California (SEL), Los Angeles, California; Department of Psychiatry, University of California (SEL, DP, SHS, TLW), San Diego, California; Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System (SHS, TLW), San Diego, California; Veterans Medical Research Foundation (MYE, TLW), San Diego, California; and Departments of Medicine and Pharmacology, Indiana University (TL), Indianapolis, Indiana.
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Tamara L. Wall

    1. From the Department of Psychology, University of Southern California (SEL), Los Angeles, California; Department of Psychiatry, University of California (SEL, DP, SHS, TLW), San Diego, California; Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System (SHS, TLW), San Diego, California; Veterans Medical Research Foundation (MYE, TLW), San Diego, California; and Departments of Medicine and Pharmacology, Indiana University (TL), Indianapolis, Indiana.
    Search for more papers by this author

Reprint requests: Tamara L. Wall, PhD, Psychology Service (116B), Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System, 3350 La Jolla Village Drive, San Diego, CA 92161; Tel.: 858-552-8585, ext 2485; Fax: 858-642-6201, E-mail: twall@ucsd.edu

Abstract

Background:  A mechanistic model has been proposed for how alcohol-metabolizing gene variants protect individuals from the development of alcohol use disorders, with heightened sensitivity to alcohol being an early step (endophenotype) in this model. This study was designed to determine whether possession of 2 alcohol-metabolizing genes variations, the aldehyde dehydrogenase ALDH2*2 allele and the alcohol dehydrogenase ADH1B*2 allele, was associated with self-reported sensitivity to alcohol at low doses and at initial use.

Methods:  Asian–American college students (= 784) of Chinese and Korean descent were genotyped at the ALDH2 and ADH1B loci and assessed for lifetime alcohol symptoms following 1 or 2 drinks and level of response to alcohol during the first 5 lifetime drinking episodes.

Results:  Participants who had an ALDH2*2 allele were more likely to report experiencing all 6 low-dose symptoms and having heightened initial response to alcohol. An interaction was found between ALDH2*2 and ADH1B*2, with ADH1B*2 being associated with heightened self-reported sensitivity to alcohol only in individuals who also possessed 1 ALDH2*2 allele.

Conclusions:  These findings suggest the effects of ADH1B*2 may be felt more strongly in Asians who already have some heightened sensitivity to alcohol from possessing 1 ALDH2*2 allele, but who are not too sensitized to alcohol from possessing 2 ALDH2*2 alleles. These results offer additional insight into the discrepant findings that have been reported in the literature for the role of ADH1B*2 in response to alcohol and the development of alcohol-related problems.

Ancillary