ALDH2 belongs to the aldehyde dehydrogenase family of proteins. Aldehyde dehydrogenase is the second enzyme of the major oxidative pathway of alcohol metabolism. Two major liver isoforms of this enzyme, cytosolic and mitochondrial, can be distinguished by their electrophoretic mobilities, kinetic properties, and subcellular localizations. Most Caucasians have two major isozymes, while approximately 50% of Asians have only the cytosolic isozyme, missing the mitochondrial isozyme. A remarkably higher frequency of acute alcohol intoxication among Asians than among Caucasians could be related to the absence of the mitochondrial isozyme.
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