23 February 2023 In General Health

The common aldehyde dehydrogenase 2 (ALDH2) alcohol flushing variant known as ALDH2*2 affects ∼8% of the world's population. Even in heterozygous carriers, this missense variant leads to a severe loss of ALDH2 enzymatic activity and has been linked to an increased risk of coronary artery disease (CAD). Endothelial cell (EC) dysfunction plays a determining role in all stages of CAD pathogenesis, including early-onset CAD. However, the contribution of ALDH2*2 to EC dysfunction and its relation to CAD are not fully understood.

In a large genome-wide association study (GWAS) from Biobank Japan, ALDH2*2 was found to be one of the strongest single-nucleotide polymorphisms associated with CAD. Clinical assessment of endothelial function showed that human participants carrying ALDH2*2 exhibited impaired vasodilation after light alcohol drinking. Using human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived ECs (iPSC-ECs) and CRISPR-Cas9-corrected ALDH2*2 iPSC-ECs, we modeled ALDH2*2-induced EC dysfunction in vitro, demonstrating an increase in oxidative stress and inflammatory markers and a decrease in nitric oxide (NO) production and tube formation capacity, which was further exacerbated by ethanol exposure.

We subsequently found that sodium-glucose cotransporter 2 inhibitors (SGLT2i) such as empagliflozin mitigated ALDH2*2-associated EC dysfunction. Studies in ALDH2*2 knock-in mice further demonstrated that empagliflozin attenuated ALDH2*2-mediated vascular dysfunction in vivo. Mechanistically, empagliflozin inhibited Na(+)/H(+)-exchanger 1 (NHE-1) and activated AKT kinase and endothelial NO synthase (eNOS) pathways to ameliorate ALDH2*2-induced EC dysfunction. Together, our results suggest that ALDH2*2 induces EC dysfunction and that SGLT2i may potentially be used as a preventative measure against CAD for ALDH2*2 carriers.

26 August 2022 In General Health

Alcohol consumption is associated with the development of cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and liver disease. The biological mechanisms are still largely unclear. Here, we aimed to use an agnostic approach to identify phenotypes mediating the effect of alcohol on various diseases.

METHODS: We performed an agnostic association analysis between alcohol consumption (red and white wine, beer/cider, fortified wine, and spirits) with over 7800 phenotypes from the UK biobank comprising 223,728 participants. We performed Mendelian randomisation analysis to infer causality. We additionally performed a Phenome-wide association analysis and a mediation analysis between alcohol consumption as exposure, phenotypes in a causal relationship with alcohol consumption as mediators, and various diseases as the outcome.

RESULTS: Of 45 phenotypes in association with alcohol consumption, 20 were in a causal relationship with alcohol consumption. Gamma glutamyltransferase (GGT; beta = 9.44; 95% CI = 5.94, 12.93; Pfdr = 9.04 x 10(-7)), mean sphered cell volume (beta = 0.189; 95% CI = 0.11, 0.27; Pfdr = 1.00 x 10(-4)), mean corpuscular volume (beta = 0.271; 95% CI = 0.19, 0.35; Pfdr = 7.09 x 10(-10)) and mean corpuscular haemoglobin (beta = 0.278; 95% CI = 0.19, 0.36; Pfdr = 1.60 x 10(-6)) demonstrated the strongest causal relationships. We also identified GGT and physical inactivity as mediators in the pathway between alcohol consumption, liver cirrhosis and alcohol dependence.

CONCLUSION: Our study provides evidence of causality between alcohol consumption and 20 phenotypes and a mediation effect for physical activity on health consequences of alcohol consumption.

22 June 2017 In General Health

Alcohol consumption is a complex trait determined by both genetic and environmental factors, and is correlated with the risk of alcohol use disorders. Although a small number of genetic loci have been reported to be associated with variation in alcohol consumption, genetic factors are estimated to explain about half of the variance in alcohol consumption, suggesting that additional loci remain to be discovered. We conducted a genome-wide association study (GWAS) of alcohol consumption in the large Genetic Epidemiology Research in Adult Health and Aging (GERA) cohort, in four race/ethnicity groups: non-Hispanic whites, Hispanic/Latinos, East Asians and African Americans. We examined two statistically independent phenotypes reflecting subjects' alcohol consumption during the past year, based on self-reported information: any alcohol intake (drinker/non-drinker status) and the regular quantity of drinks consumed per week (drinks/week) among drinkers. We assessed these two alcohol consumption phenotypes in each race/ethnicity group, and in a combined trans-ethnic meta-analysis comprising a total of 86 627 individuals. We observed the strongest association between the previously reported single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) rs671 in ALDH2 and alcohol drinker status (odd ratio (OR)=0.40, P=2.28 x 10-72) in East Asians, and also an effect on drinks/week (beta=-0.17, P=5.42 x 10-4) in the same group. We also observed a genome-wide significant association in non-Hispanic whites between the previously reported SNP rs1229984 in ADH1B and both alcohol consumption phenotypes (OR=0.79, P=2.47 x 10-20 for drinker status and beta=-0.19, P=1.91 x 10-35 for drinks/week), which replicated in Hispanic/Latinos (OR=0.72, P=4.35 x 10-7 and beta=-0.21, P=2.58 x 10-6, respectively). Although prior studies reported effects of ADH1B and ALDH2 on lifetime measures, such as risk of alcohol dependence, our study adds further evidence of the effect of the same genes on a cross-sectional measure of average drinking. Our trans-ethnic meta-analysis confirmed recent findings implicating the KLB and GCKR loci in alcohol consumption, with strongest associations observed for rs7686419 (beta=-0.04, P=3.41 x 10-10 for drinks/week and OR=0.96, P=4.08 x 10-5 for drinker status), and rs4665985 (beta=0.04, P=2.26 x 10-8 for drinks/week and OR=1.04, P=5 x 10-4 for drinker status), respectively. Finally, we also obtained confirmatory results extending previous findings implicating AUTS2, SGOL1 and SERPINC1 genes in alcohol consumption traits in non-Hispanic whites.Molecular Psychiatry advance online publication, 9 May 2017; doi:10.1038/mp.2017.101

01 February 2017 In Cancer

Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified many genetic susceptibility loci for colorectal cancer (CRC). However, variants in these loci explain only a small proportion of familial aggregation, and there are likely additional variants that are associated with CRC susceptibility. Genome-wide studies of gene-environment interactions may identify variants that are not detected in GWAS of marginal gene effects. To study this, we conducted a genome-wide analysis for interaction between genetic variants and alcohol consumption and cigarette smoking using data from the Colon Cancer Family Registry (CCFR) and the Genetics and Epidemiology of Colorectal Cancer Consortium (GECCO). Interactions were tested using logistic regression. We identified interaction between CRC risk and alcohol consumption and variants in the 9q22.32/HIATL1 (Pinteraction = 1.76x10-8; permuted p-value 3.51x10-8) region. Compared to non-/occasional drinking light to moderate alcohol consumption was associated with a lower risk of colorectal cancer among individuals with rs9409565 CT genotype (OR, 0.82 [95% CI, 0.74-0.91]; P = 2.1x10-4) and TT genotypes (OR,0.62 [95% CI, 0.51-0.75]; P = 1.3x10-6) but not associated among those with the CC genotype (p = 0.059). No genome-wide statistically significant interactions were observed for smoking. If replicated our suggestive finding of a genome-wide significant interaction between genetic variants and alcohol consumption might contribute to understanding colorectal cancer etiology and identifying subpopulations with differential susceptibility to the effect of alcohol on CRC risk.

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