It has been well documented that although homozygosity of the variant aldehyde dehydrogenase-2 (ALDH2) gene allele, ALDH2*2, in Asians almost fully protects against alcoholism, the heterozygosity only affords a partial protection to varying degrees. The full protection against alcoholism has been ascribed to the low-amount of alcohol hypersensitivity accompanied by a prolonged and large accumulation of acetaldehyde in blood (Peng et al. Pharmacogenetics 1999; 9:463-476). The physiological basis for the partial protection, however, remains unclear.
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