BACKGROUND Previous population association studies have indicated that certain alleles of alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) and aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH) may reduce the risk of alcoholism in Asian populations. The association of ALDH2 and ADH2 with the development of alcoholism was found to be independent of each other and has been replicated in different Asian populations, while the effect of ADH3 is less studied.
METHOD We genotyped the alcohol metabolism genes among Han men with alcohol dependence (n = 46) and their ethnically matched normal controls (n = 63) in Taiwan. Multiple logistic regression was then applied to assess the contribution of ADH3 to alcoholism by controlling the effect of ALDH2 and ADH2.
RESULTS The results of multivariate analyses demonstrated that the odds ratios for an increment of one allele of ADH2*1, ADH3*2 and ALDH2*1 in the development of alcoholism were 4.18, 3.82, and 6.89, respectively.
CONCLUSIONS These findings clearly indicate that all three alcohol-metabolising genes contribute to susceptibility to alcoholism.