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Keywords:

  • Alcohol Use;
  • Aldehyde Dehydrogenase;
  • Asian Ethnicity;
  • Genetic Polymorphisms;
  • Drinking Behavior

Background

Prior studies suggest a possible association of a promoter polymorphism in the ALDH1A1 gene ( ALDH1A1*2 ) with alcohol use or dependence. The aim of this study was to examine the association of ALDH1A1*2 with drinking behaviors in Asian young adults and to examine ALDH2 genotype as a potential moderator of these associations.

Methods

Asian young adults (= 951) were recruited from 2 college sites for studies of genetic associations with alcohol use behavior. Participants completed comprehensive background questionnaires on demographics and drinking behavior. Fingertip blood samples were obtained for DNA extraction and analysis.

Results

Participants with the ALDH2*1/*2 genotype reported significantly lower levels (frequency and quantity) of drinking within the last 90 days, fewer numbers of heavy drinking episodes within the last 90 days, and lower lifetime maximum consumption levels compared with ALDH2*1/*1 participants. There were no significant main effects of ALDH1A1*2 on any drinking variables, nor was there a significant interaction between ALDH2 and ALDH1A1 genotypes on drinking outcomes.

Conclusions

The association of ALDH2*2 with reduced alcohol consumption replicates previous findings across numerous studies. Although ALDH1A1*2 was not associated with drinking levels, the lack of an ALDH1A1*2 effect in ALDH2*2 individuals is consistent with the only other study that has examined these associations in East Asian populations.