Aims: The aims were to provide proofs of mechanism and principle by establishing the ability of kynurenine metabolites to inhibit the liver mitochondrial low Km aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH) activity after administration and in vivo, and to induce aversion to alcohol. Methods: Kynurenic acid (KA), 3-hydroxykynurenine (3-HK) and 3-hydroxyanthranilic acid (3-HAA) were administered to normal male Wistar rats and ALDH activity was determined both in vitro in liver homogenates and in vivo (by measuring blood acetaldehyde following ethanol administration). Alcohol consumption was studied in an aversion model in rats and in alcohol-preferring C57 mice. Results: ALDH activity was significantly inhibited by all three metabolites by doses as small as 1 mg/kg body wt. Blood acetaldehyde accumulation after ethanol administration was strongly elevated by KA and 3-HK and to a lesser extent by 3-HAA. All three metabolites induced aversion to alcohol in rats and decreased alcohol preference in mice. Conclusions: The above kynurenine metabolites of tryptophan induce aversion to alcohol by inhibiting ALDH activity. An intellectual property covering the use of 3-HK and 3-HAA and derivatives thereof in the treatment of alcoholism by aversion awaits further development.
A mutation in the gene encoding for the liver mitochondrial aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH2–2), present in some Asian populations, lowers or abolishes the activity of this enzyme and results in elevations in blood acetaldehyde upon ethanol consumption, a phenotype that greatly protects against alcohol abuse and alcoholism. We have determined whether the administration of antisense phosphorothioate oligonucleotides (ASOs) can mimic the low-activity ALDH2–2 Asian phenotype. Rat hepatoma cells incubated for 24 h with an antisense oligonucleotide (ASO-9) showed reductions in ALDH2 mRNA levels of 85% and ALDH2 (half-life of 22 h) activity of 55% equivalent to a >90% inhibition in ALDH2 synthesis. Glutamate dehydrogenase mRNA and activity remained unchanged. Base mismatches in the oligonucleotide rendered ASO-9 virtually inactive, confirming an antisense effect. Administration of ASO-9 (20 mg/kg/day for 4 d) to rats resulted in a 50% reduction in liver ALDH2 mRNA, a 40% inhibition in ALDH2 activity, and a fourfold (P < 0.001) increase in circulating plasma acetaldehyde levels after ethanol (1 g/kg) administration. Administration of ASO-9 to rats by osmotic pumps led to an aversion (−61%, P < 0.02) to ethanol. These studies provide a proof of principle that specific inhibition of gene expression can be used to mimic the protective effects afforded by the ALDH2–2 phenotype.
alcoholism; disulfiram; ALDH2-2; acetaldehyde; treatment
Aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH) isozymes are critically important in the metabolism of acetaldehyde, thus preventing its accumulation after ethanol exposure. We previously reported that mitochondrial ALDH2 could be inactivated via -nitrosylation in ethanol-exposed rats. This study was aimed at investigating whether cytosolic ALDH1, with a relatively low- value (11–18 μM) for acetaldehyde, could be also inhibited in ethanol-exposed rats. Chronic or binge ethanol exposure significantly decreased ALDH1 activity, which was restored by addition of dithiothreitol. Immunoblot analysis with the anti--nitroso-Cys antibody showed one immunoreactive band in the immunoprecipiated ALDH1 only from ethanol-exposed rats, but not from pair-fed controls, suggesting -nitrosylation of ALDH1. Therefore inactivation of ALDH1 via -nitrosylation can result in accumulation of acetaldehyde upon ethanol exposure.
Cytosolic aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH1); Ethanol; S-nitrosylation; reversible inhibition; acetaldehyde metabolism
The anti-alcoholism medication disulfiram (Antabuse) inhibits aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH), which results in the accumulation of acetaldehyde upon ethanol ingestion and produces the aversive “Antabuse reaction” that deters alcohol consumption. Disulfiram has also been shown to deter cocaine use, even in the absence of an interaction with alcohol, indicating the existence of an ALDH-independent therapeutic mechanism. We hypothesized that disulfiram’s inhibition of dopamine β-hydroxylase (DBH), the catecholamine biosynthetic enzyme that converts dopamine (DA) to norepinephrine (NE) in noradrenergic neurons, underlies the drug’s ability to treat cocaine dependence. We tested the effects of disulfiram on cocaine and food self-administration behavior and drug-primed reinstatement of cocaine seeking in rats. We then compared the effects of disulfiram with those of the selective DBH inhibitor, nepicastat. Disulfiram, at a dose (100 mg/kg, i.p.) that reduced brain NE by ~40%, did not alter responding for food or cocaine on a fixed ratio 1 (FR1) schedule, whereas it completely blocked cocaine-primed (10 mg/kg, i.p.) reinstatement of drug seeking following extinction. A lower dose of disulfiram (10 mg/kg) that did not reduce NE had no effect on cocaine-primed reinstatement. Nepicastat recapitulated the behavioral effects of disulfiram (100 mg/kg) at a dose (50 mg/kg, i.p.) that produced a similar reduction in brain NE. Food-primed reinstatement of food seeking was not impaired by DBH inhibition. Our results suggest that disulfiram’s efficacy in the treatment of cocaine addiction is associated with the inhibition of DBH and interference with the ability of environmental stimuli to trigger relapse.
dopamine β-hydroxylase; disulfiram; nepicastat; norepinephrine; cocaine; reinstatement
Aldehyde dehydrogenases (ALDHs) represent large family members of NAD(P)+-dependent dehydrogenases responsible for the irreversible metabolism of many endogenous and exogenous aldehydes to the corresponding acids. Among 19 ALDH isozymes, mitochondrial ALDH2 is a low Km enzyme responsible for the metabolism of acetaldehyde and lipid peroxides such as malondialdehyde and 4-hydroxynonenal, both of which are highly reactive and toxic. Consequently, inhibition of ALDH2 would lead to elevated levels of acetaldehyde and other reactive lipid peroxides following ethanol intake and/or exposure to toxic chemicals. In addition, many East Asian people with a dominant negative mutation in ALDH2 gene possess a decreased ALDH2 activity with increased risks for various types of cancer, myocardial infarct, alcoholic liver disease, and other pathological conditions. The aim of this review is to briefly describe the multiple post-translational modifications of mitochondrial ALDH2, as an example, after exposure to toxic chemicals or under different disease states and their pathophysiological roles in promoting alcohol/drug-mediated tissue damage. We also briefly mention exciting preclinical translational research opportunities to identify small molecule activators of ALDH2 and its isozymes as potentially therapeutic/preventive agents against various disease states where the expression or activity of ALDH enzymes is altered or inactivated.
Aldehyde dehydrogenases; post-translational modifications; cellular defense; drug toxicity; disease states; translational research
The antialcoholism medication disulfiram (Antabuse) inhibits aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH), which results in the accumulation of acetaldehyde upon ethanol ingestion and produces the aversive ‘Antabuse reaction' that deters alcohol consumption. Disulfiram has also been shown to deter cocaine use, even in the absence of an interaction with alcohol, indicating the existence of an ALDH-independent therapeutic mechanism. We hypothesized that disulfiram's inhibition of dopamine β-hydroxylase (DBH), the catecholamine biosynthetic enzyme that converts dopamine (DA) to norepinephrine (NE) in noradrenergic neurons, underlies the drug's ability to treat cocaine dependence. We tested the effects of disulfiram on cocaine and food self-administration behavior and drug-primed reinstatement of cocaine seeking in rats. We then compared the effects of disulfiram with those of the selective DBH inhibitor, nepicastat. Disulfiram, at a dose (100 mg/kg, i.p.) that reduced brain NE by ∼40%, did not alter the response for food or cocaine on a fixed ratio 1 schedule, whereas it completely blocked cocaine-primed (10 mg/kg, i.p.) reinstatement of drug seeking following extinction. A lower dose of disulfiram (10 mg/kg) that did not reduce NE had no effect on cocaine-primed reinstatement. Nepicastat recapitulated the behavioral effects of disulfiram (100 mg/kg) at a dose (50 mg/kg, i.p.) that produced a similar reduction in brain NE. Food-primed reinstatement of food seeking was not impaired by DBH inhibition. Our results suggest that disulfiram's efficacy in the treatment of cocaine addiction is associated with the inhibition of DBH and interference with the ability of environmental stimuli to trigger relapse.
dopamine β-hydroxylase; disulfiram; nepicastat; norepinephrine; cocaine; reinstatement; addiction & substance abuse; catecholamines; psychostimulants; animal models; norepinephrine; cocaine; self-administration; rat
Alcohol and MDMA (ecstasy) are frequently co-abused, but recent findings indicate a harmful drug interaction between these two agents. In our previous study, we showed that MDMA exposure inhibits the activity of the acetaldehyde (ACH) metabolizing enzyme, aldehyde dehydrogenase2 (ALDH2). Based on this finding, we hypothesized that the co-administration of MDMA and ethanol would reduce the metabolism of ACH and result in increased accumulation of ACH. Rats were treated with MDMA or vehicle and then administered a single dose of ethanol. Liver ALDH2 activity decreased by 35% in the MDMA-treated rats compared to control rats. The peak concentration and the area under the concentration versus time curve of plasma ACH was 31% and 59% higher, respectively, in the MDMA-ethanol group compared to the ethanol-only group. In addition, the MDMA-ethanol group had 80% higher plasma transaminase levels than the ethanol-only group, indicating greater hepatocellular damage. Our results not only support a drug interaction between MDMA and ethanol but a novel underlying mechanism for the interaction.
alcohol; ethanol; 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA); ecstasy; metabolism; acetaldehyde; aldehyde dehydrogenase; drug interaction; liver toxicity; transaminase
In approximately one billion people, a point mutation inactivates a key detoxifying enzyme, aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH2). This mitochondrial enzyme metabolizes toxic biogenic and environmental aldehydes, including the endogenously produced 4-hydroxynonenal (4HNE) and the environmental pollutant, acrolein. ALDH2 also bioactivates nitroglycerin, but it is best known for its role in ethanol metabolism. The accumulation of acetaldehyde following the consumption of even a single alcoholic beverage leads to the Asian Alcohol-induced Flushing Syndrome in ALDH2*2 homozygotes. The ALDH2*2 allele is semi-dominant and heterozygotic individuals exhibit a similar, but not as severe phenotype. We recently identified a small molecule, Alda-1, which activates wild-type ALDH2 and restores near wild-type activity to ALDH2*2. The structures of Alda-1 bound to ALDH2 and ALDH2*2 reveal how Alda-1 activates the wild-type enzyme and how it restores the activity of ALDH2*2 by acting as a structural chaperone.
Many Orientals lack the mitochondrial aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH2) activity responsible for the oxidation of acetaldehyde produced during ethanol metabolism. These individuals suffer the alcohol-flush reaction when they drink alcoholic beverages. The alcohol-flush reaction is the result of excessive acetaldehyde accumulation, and the unpleasant symptoms tend to reduce alcohol consumption. The subunit of this homotetrameric enzyme was sequenced and the abnormality in the inactive enzyme shown to be a substitution of lysine for glutamate at position 487. We have used the polymerase chain reaction to determine the genotypes of 24 livers from Japanese individuals. Correlating genotype with phenotype leads to the conclusion that the allele (ALDH2(2)) encoding the abnormal subunit is dominant.
In order to determine the specificity of abnormalities of alcohol metabolism in patients with alcoholic liver disease, blood acetaldehyde concentrations after oral ethanol challenge and the activities of alcohol metabolising enzymes in liver biopsy samples have been determined in patients with alcoholic liver disease and a wide variety of non-alcoholic liver disorders. Significant decreases in hepatic cytosolic aldehyde dehydrogenase activity were associated with significant increases in acetaldehyde concentrations after ethanol in both patient groups compared with control subjects. There was a significant correlation between hepatic cytosolic aldehyde dehydrogenase and mean blood acetaldehyde concentration 30-180 min after ethanol ingestion (y = 17.4-0.45x; r = -0.56; p less than 0.01) confirming the importance of this enzyme in controlling blood acetaldehyde concentrations. These findings suggest that disturbances in alcohol metabolism in patients with alcoholic liver disease are the consequence of liver damage rather than a specific abnormality predisposing to alcohol induced liver injury.
Alcohol consumption leads to myocardial contractile dysfunction possibly due to the toxicity of ethanol and its major metabolite acetaldehyde. This study was designed to examine the influence of mitochondrial aldehyde dehydrogenase-2 (ALDH2) knockout (KO) on acute ethanol exposure-induced cardiomyocyte dysfunction. Wild-type (WT) and ALDH2 KO mice were subjected to acute ethanol (3 g/kg, i.p.) challenge and cardiomyocyte contractile function was assessed 24 hrs later using an IonOptix® edge-detection system. Western blot analysis was performed to evaluate ALDH2, protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A), phosphorylation of Akt and glycogen synthase kinase-3β (GSK-3β). ALDH2 KO accentuated ethanol-induced elevation in cardiac acetaldehyde levels. Ethanol exposure depressed cardiomyocyte contractile function including decreased cell shortening amplitude and maximal velocity of shortening/relengthening as well as prolonged relengthening duration and a greater decline in peak shortening in response to increasing stimulus frequency, the effect of which was significantly exaggerated by ALDH2 KO. ALDH2 KO also unmasked an ethanol-induced prolongation of shortening duration. In addition, short-term in vitro incubation of ethanol-induced cardiomyocyte mechanical defects were exacerbated by the ALDH inhibitor cyanamide. Ethanol treatment dampened phosphorylation of Akt and GSK-3β associated with up-regulated PP2A, which was accentuated by ALDH2 KO. ALDH2 KO aggravated ethanol-induced decrease in mitochondrial membrane potential. These results suggested that ALDH2 deficiency led to worsened ethanol-induced cardiomyocyte function, possibly due to upregulated expression of protein phosphatase, depressed Akt activation and subsequently impaired mitochondrial function. These findings depict a critical role of ALDH2 in the pathogenesis of alcoholic cardiomyopathy.
Ethanol; ALDH2; Cardiomyocyte; Contractile function; Akt; Protein phosphatase
Acetaldehyde and butyraldehyde are substrates for alcohol dehydrogenase in the production of ethanol and 1-butanol by solvent-producing clostridia. A coenzyme A (CoA)-acylating aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH), which also converts acyl-CoA to aldehyde and CoA, has been purified under anaerobic conditions from Clostridium beijerinckii NRRL B592. The ALDH showed a native molecular weight (Mr) of 100,000 and a subunit Mr of 55,000, suggesting that ALDH is dimeric. Purified ALDH contained no alcohol dehydrogenase activity. Activities measured with acetaldehyde and butyraldehyde as alternative substrates were copurified, indicating that the same ALDH can catalyze the formation of both aldehydes for ethanol and butanol production. Based on the Km and Vmax values for acetyl-CoA and butyryl-CoA, ALDH was more effective for the production of butyraldehyde than for acetaldehyde. ALDH could use either NAD(H) or NADP(H) as the coenzyme, but the Km for NAD(H) was much lower than that for NADP(H). Kinetic data suggest a ping-pong mechanism for the reaction. ALDH was more stable in Tris buffer than in phosphate buffer. The apparent optimum pH was between 6.5 and 7 for the forward reaction (the physiological direction; aldehyde forming), and it was 9.5 or higher for the reverse reaction (acyl-CoA forming). The ratio of NAD(H)/NADP(H)-linked activities increased with decreasing pH. ALDH was O2 sensitive, but it could be protected against O2 inactivation by dithiothreitol. The O2-inactivated enzyme could be reactivated by incubating the enzyme with CoA in the presence or absence of dithiothreitol prior to assay.
Ethanol administration has been shown to alter receptor-mediated endocytosis in the liver. We have developed a recombinant hepatic cell line stably transfected with murine alcohol dehydrogenase cDNA to serve as an in vitro model to investigate these ethanol-induced impairments. In the present study, transfected cells were maintained in the absence or presence of 25 mM ethanol for 7 days, and alterations in endocytosis by the asialoglycoprotein receptor were determined. The role of acetaldehyde in this dysfunction was also examined by inclusion of the aldehyde dehydrogenase inhibitor, cyanamide. Our results showed that ethanol metabolism impaired internalization of asialoorosomucoid, a ligand for the asialoglycoprotein receptor. The addition of cyanamide potentiated the ethanol-induced defect in internalization and also impaired degradation of the ligand in the presence of ethanol. These results indicate that the ethanol-induced impairment in endocytosis is exacerbated by the inhibition of aldehyde dehydrogenase, suggesting the involvement of acetaldehyde in this dysfunction.
Over the past three years we have been involved in high-throughput screening in an effort to discover novel small molecular modulators of aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH) activity. In particular, we have been interested in both the activation and inhibitionof the three commonly studied isoenzymes, ALDH1A1, ALDH2 and ALDH3A1, as their distinct, yet overlapping substrate specificities, present a particularly difficult challenge for inhibitor discovery and design. Activation of ALDH2 has been shown to benefit cardiovascular outcome following periods of ischemia and renewed interest in specific inhibition of ALDH2 has application for alcohol aversion therapy, and more recently, in cocaine addiction. In contrast, inhibition of either ALDH1A1 or ALDH3A1 has application in cancer treatments where the isoenzymes are commonly over-expressed and serve as markers for cancer stem cells. We are taking two distinct approaches for these screens: in vitro enzyme activity screens using chemical libraries and virtual computational screens using the structures of the target enzymes as filters for identifying potential inhibitors, followed by in vitro testing of their ability to inhibit their intended targets. We have identified selective inhibitors of each of these three isoenzymes with inhibition constants in the high nanomolar to low micromolar range from these screening procedures. Together, these inhibitors provide proof for concept that selective inhibition of these broad specificity general detoxication enzymes through small molecule discovery and design is possible.
aldehyde dehydrogenase; high-throughput screening; computational docking
Mitochondrial aldehyde dehydrogenase 2 (ALDH2) is emerging as a key enzyme involved in cytoprotection in the heart. ALDH2 mediates both the detoxification of reactive aldehydes such as acetaldehyde and 4-hydroxy-2-nonenal (4-HNE) and the bioactivation of nitroglycerin (GTN) to nitric oxide (NO). In addition, chronic nitrate treatment results in ALDH2 inhibition and contributes to nitrate tolerance. Our lab recently identified ALDH2 to be a key mediator of endogenous cytoprotection. We reported that ALDH2 is phosphorylated and activated by the survival kinase protein kinase C epsilon (PKCε) and found a strong inverse correlation between ALDH2 activity and infarct size. We also identified a small molecule ALDH2 activator (Alda-1) which reduces myocardial infarct size induced by ischemia/reperfusion in vivo. In this review, we discuss evidence that ALDH2 is a key mediator of endogenous survival signaling in the heart, suggest possible cardioprotective mechanisms mediated by ALDH2, and discuss potential clinical implications of these findings.
Mitochondrial aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH2) is responsible for the metabolism of acetaldehyde and other toxic lipid aldehydes. Despite many reports about the inhibition of ALDH2 by toxic chemicals, it is unknown whether nitric oxide (NO) can alter the ALDH2 activity in intact cells or in vivo animals. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of NO on ALDH2 activity in H4IIE-C3 rat hepatoma cells. NO donors such as S-nitrosoglutathione (GSNO), S-nitroso-N-acetylpenicillamine, and 3-morpholinosydnonimine significantly increased the nitrite concentration while they inhibited the ALDH2 activity. Addition of GSH-ethylester (GSH-EE) completely blocked the GSNO-mediated ALDH2 inhibition and increased nitrite concentration. To directly demonstrate the NO-mediated S-nitrosylation and inactivation, ALDH2 was immunopurified from control or GSNO-treated cells and subjected to immunoblot analysis. The anti-nitrosocysteine antibody recognized the immunopurified ALDH2 only from the GSNO-treated samples. All these results indicate that S-nitrosylation of ALDH2 in intact cells leads to reversible inhibition of ALDH2 activity.
Aldehyde dehydrogenase; Glutathione; Nitric oxide; NO donors; S-Nitrosylation; ALDH2, mitochondrial aldehyde dehydrogenase; BSO, l-buthionine-sulphoximine; DTT, dithiothreitol; GSH-EE, glutathioneethylester; GSNO, S-nitrosoglutathione; HNE, 4-hydroxy-2-nonenal; MDA, malondialdehyde; NO, nitric oxide; S-NO-Cys, S-nitroso-cysteine; ROS/RNS, reactive oxygen/nitrogen species; SIN-1, 3-morpholinosydnonimine · HCl; SNAP, S-nitroso-N-acetyl-d, l-penicillamine
Alcohol is oxidized to acetaldehyde by alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) and cytochrome P-4502E1 (CYP2E1), and then to acetate by aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH). Polymorphisms of these ethanol-metabolizing enzymes may be associated with inter-individual difference in alcohol metabolism and susceptibility to alcoholic liver disease. We determined genotype and allele frequencies of ALDH2, CYP2E1, ADH2, and ADH3 in male Korean patients with alcoholic cirrhosis (n=56), alcoholics without evidence of liver disease (n=52), and nondrinkers (n=64) by using PCR or PCR-directed mutagenesis followed by restriction enzyme digestion. The prevalences of heterozygous ALDH2*1/*2 plus homozygous ALDH2*2/*2 in patients with alcoholic cirrhosis (7.1%) and alcoholics without evidence of liver disease (3.8%) were significantly lower than that in nondrinkers (45.3%). The c2 allele frequencies of the CYP2E1 in alcoholic cirrhosis, alcoholics without evidence of liver disease, and nondrinkers were 0.21, 0.20, and 0.20, respectively. Allele frequencies of ADH2*2 in the three groups were 0.78, 0.74, and 0.77 and those of ADH3*1 were 0.94, 0.98, and 0.95. Therefore, we confirmed the observation that the ALDH2*2 gene protects against the development of alcoholism. However, the development of cirrhosis in Korean alcoholic patients was not associated with polymorphisms of ethanol-metabolizing enzymes.
Alcoholism has been associated with folate deficiency in humans and laboratory animals. Previous study showed that ethanol feeding reduces the dehydrogenase and hydrolase activity of 10-formyltetrahydrofolate dehydrogenase (FDH) in rat liver. Hepatic ethanol metabolism generates acetaldehyde and acetate. The mechanisms by which ethanol and its metabolites produce toxicity within the liver cells are unknown. We purified FDH from rat liver and investigated the effect of ethanol, acetaldehyde and acetate on the enzyme in vitro. Hepatic FDH activity was not reduced by ethanol or acetate directly. However, acetaldehyde was observed to reduce the dehydrogenase activity of FDH in a dose- and time-dependent manner with an apparent IC50 of 4 mM, while the hydrolase activity of FDH was not affected by acetaldehyde in vitro. These results suggest that the inhibition of hepatic FDH dehydrogenase activity induced by acetadehyde may play a role in ethanol toxicity.
Ethanol toxicity; acetaldehyde; 10-formyltetrahydrofolate dehydrogenase/hydrolase; folate
Chronic intake of alcohol results in multiple organ damage including brain. This study was designed to examine the impact of facilitated acetaldehyde breakdown via transgenic overexpression of mitochondrial aldehyde dehydrogenase-2 (ALDH2) on alcohol-induced cerebral cortical injury. ALDH2 transgenic mice were produced using the chicken β-actin promoter. Wild-type FVB and ALDH2 mice were placed on a 4% alcohol or control diet for 12 wks. Protein damage and apoptosis were evaluated with carbonyl formation, caspase and TUNEL assays. Western blot was performed to examine expression (or its activation) of ALDH2, the pro- and anti-apoptotic proteins Caspase-8, Bax, Bcl-2, Omi/HtrA2, apoptosis repressor with caspase recruitment domain (ARC), FLICE-like Inhibitory Protein (FLIP), X-linked inhibitor of apoptosis protein (XIAP), Akt, glycogen synthase kinase-3β (GSK-3β), p38, c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) and extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK). Chronic alcohol intake led to elevated apoptosis in the absence of overt protein damage, the effect of which was ablated by the overexpression of ALDH2 transgene. Consistently, ALDH2 transgene significantly attenuated alcohol-induced upregulation of Bax, Omi/HtrA2 and XIAP as well as downregulation of Bcl-2 and ARC without affecting alcohol-induced increase of FLIP in cerebral cortex. Phosphorylation of Akt and GSK-3β was dampened while total/phosphorylated JNK and p38 phosphorylation were elevated following chronic alcohol intake, the effects of which were abrogated by ALDH2 transgene. Expression of total Akt, GSK-3β, p38 and ERK (total or phosphorylated) was not affected by either chronic alcohol intake or ALDH2 transgene. Our results suggested that transgenic overexpression of ALDH2 rescues chronic alcoholism-elicited cerebral injury possibly via a mechanism associated with Akt, GSK-3β, p38 and JNK signaling.
Alcohol; ALDH2 transgene; cerebral cortex; cell injury
Alcoholism is a complex behavioural disorder. Molecular genetics studies have identified numerous candidate genes associated with alcoholism. It is crucial to verify the disease susceptibility genes by correlating the pinpointed allelic variations to the causal phenotypes. Alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) and aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH) are the principal enzymes responsible for ethanol metabolism in humans. Both ADH and ALDH exhibit functional polymorphisms among racial populations; these polymorphisms have been shown to be the important genetic determinants in ethanol metabolism and alcoholism. Here, we briefly review recent advances in genomic studies of human ADH/ALDH families and alcoholism, with an emphasis on the pharmacogenetic consequences of venous blood acetaldehyde in the different ALDH2 genotypes following the intake of various doses of ethanol. This paper illustrates a paradigmatic example of phenotypic verifications in a protective disease gene for substance abuse.
alcohol dehydrogenase; aldehyde dehydrogenase; single nucleotide polymorphism; alcoholism; ethanol metabolism; blood acetaldehyde
Alcoholic cardiomyopathy is manifested as cardiac hypertrophy, disrupted contractile function and myofibrillary architecture. An ample amount of clinical and experimental evidence has depicted a pivotal role for alcohol metabolism especially the main alcohol metabolic product acetaldehyde, in the pathogenesis of this myopathic state. Findings from our group and others have revealed that the mitochondrial isoform of aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH2), which metabolizes acetaldehyde, governs the detoxification of acetaldehyde formed following alcohol consumption and the ultimate elimination of alcohol from the body. The ALDH2 enzymatic cascade may evolve as a unique detoxification mechanism for environmental alcohols and aldehydes to alleviate the undesired cardiac anomalies in ischemia-reperfusion and alcoholism. Polymorphic variants of the ALDH2 gene encode enzymes with altered pharmacokinetic properties and a significantly higher prevalence of cardiovascular diseases associated with alcoholism. The pathophysiological effects of ALDH2 polymorphism may be mediated by accumulation of acetaldehyde and other reactive aldehydes. Inheritance of the inactive ALDH2*2 gene product is associated with a decreased risk of alcoholism but an increased risk of alcoholic complications. This association is influenced by gene-environment interactions such as those associated with religion and national origin. The purpose of this review is to recapitulate the pathogenesis of alcoholic cardiomyopathy with a special focus on ALDH2 enzymatic metabolism. It will be important to dissect the links between ALDH2 polymorphism and prevalence of alcoholic cardiomyopathy, in order to determine the mechanisms underlying such associations. The therapeutic value of ALDH2 as both target and tool in the management of alcoholic tissue damage will be discussed.
Alcohol; ALDH2; enzyme; metabolism; myocardial; transgenic mice
Chronic alcoholism leads to the onset and progression of alcoholic cardiomyopathy through toxic mechanisms of ethanol and its metabolite acetaldehyde. This study examined the impact of altered acetaldehyde metabolism through systemic transgenic overexpression of aldehyde dehydrogenase-2 (ALDH2) on chronic alcohol ingestion-induced myocardial damage.
Methods and Results:
ALDH2 transgenic mice were produced using the chicken β-actin promoter. Wild-type FVB and ALDH2 mice were placed on a 4% alcohol or control diet for 14 wks. Myocardial and cardiomyocyte contraction, intracellular Ca2+ handling, histology (H&E, Masson trichrome), protein damage and apoptosis were determined. Western blot was used to monitor the expression of NADPH oxidase, calcineurin, apoptosis-stimulated kinase (ASK-1), GSK-3β, GATA4 and cAMP-response element binding (CREB) protein. ALDH2 reduced chronic alcohol ingestion-induced elevation in plasma and tissue acetaldehyde levels. Chronic alcohol consumption led to cardiac hypertrophy, reduced fraction shortening, cell shortening and impaired intracellular Ca2+ homeostasis, the effect of which was alleviated by ALDH2. In addition, ALDH2 transgene significantly attenuated chronic alcohol intake-induced myocardial fibrosis, protein carbonyl formation, apoptosis, enhanced NADPH oxidase p47phox and calcineurin expression as well as phosphorylation of ASK-1, GSK-3β, GATA4 and CREB.
Our results suggested that transgenic overexpression of ALDH2 effectively antagonizes chronic alcohol intake-elicited myocardial hypertrophy and contractile defect through a mechanism associated, at least in part, with phosphorylation of ASK-1, GSK-3β, GATA4 and CREB. These data strongly support the notion that acetaldehyde may be an essential contributor to the chronic development of alcoholic cardiomyopathy.
Alcohol; ALDH2; myocardium; geometry; cardiomyocytes; contraction; apoptosis
The East Asian variant of mitochondrial aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH2) exhibits significantly reduced dehydrogenase, esterase, and nitroglycerin (GTN) denitrating activities. The small molecule Alda-1 was reported to partly restore low acetaldehyde dehydrogenase activity of this variant. In the present study we compared the wild type enzyme (ALDH2*1) with the Asian variant (ALDH2*2) regarding GTN bioactivation and the effects of Alda-1. Alda-1 increased acetaldehyde oxidation by ALDH2*1 and ALDH2*2 approximately 1.5- and 6-fold, respectively, and stimulated the esterase activities of both enzymes to similar extent as the coenzyme NAD. The effect of NAD was biphasic with pronounced inhibition occurring at ≥5 mm. In the presence of 1 mm NAD, Alda-1 stimulated ALDH2*2-catalyzed ester hydrolysis 73-fold, whereas the NAD-stimulated activity of ALDH2*1 was inhibited because of 20-fold increased inhibitory potency of NAD in the presence of the drug. Although ALDH2*2 exhibited 7-fold lower GTN denitrating activity and GTN affinity than ALDH2*1, the rate of nitric oxide formation was only reduced 2-fold, and soluble guanylate cyclase (sGC) activation was more pronounced than with wild type ALDH2 at saturating GTN. Alda-1 caused slight inhibition of GTN denitration and did not increase GTN-induced sGC activation in the presence of either variant. The present results indicate that Alda-1 stimulates established ALDH2 activities by improving NAD binding but does not improve the GTN binding affinity of the Asian variant. In addition, our data revealed an unexpected discrepancy between GTN reductase activity and sGC activation, suggesting that GTN denitration and bioactivation may reflect independent pathways of ALDH2-catalyzed GTN biotransformation.
Cyclic GMP (cGMP); Enzyme Catalysis; Nitric Oxide; Oxidase; Superoxide Dismutase (SOD); Superoxide Ion; Bioactivation; Nitroglycerin
Research into the causes of alcoholism is a relatively recent scientific endeavor. One area of study which could lead to better understanding of the disease is the possibility of a genetic predisposition to alcoholism. Recent work has demonstrated that people have varying complements of enzymes to metabolize alcohol. Current knowledge is examined about the influence of various ethanol metabolizing enzymes on alcohol consumption by Asians and members of other ethnic groups. The two principal enzymes involved in ethanol oxidative metabolism are alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) and aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH). ADH is responsible for the metabolism of ethanol to acetaldehyde. ALDH catalyzes the conversion of acetaldehyde to acetate. The different isozymes account for the diversity of alcohol metabolism among individuals. An isozyme of ADH (beta 2 beta 2) is found more frequently in Asians than in whites, and an ALDH isozyme (ALDH2), although present in Asians, often is in an inactive form. The presence of an inactive form of ALDH2 is thought to be responsible for an increase in acetaldehyde levels in the body. Acetaldehyde is considered responsible for the facial flushing reaction often observed among Asians who have consumed alcohol. A dysphoric reaction to alcohol, producing uncomfortable sensations, is believed to be a response to deter further consumption. Although the presence of an inactive ALDH2 isozyme may serve as a deterrent to alcohol consumption, its presence does not fully explain the levels of alcohol consumption by those with the inactive isozyme. Other conditions, such as social pressure, and yet undetermined biological factors, may play a significant role in alcohol consumption.
Acetaldehyde is produced during ethanol metabolism predominantly in the liver by alcohol dehydrogenase, and rapidly eliminated by oxidation to acetate via aldehyde dehydrogenase. Assessment of circulating acetaldehyde levels in biological matrices is performed by headspace gas chromatography and reverse phase high-performance liquid chromatography (RP-HPLC).
We have developed an optimized method for the measurement of acetaldehyde by RP-HPLC in hepatoma cell culture medium, blood and plasma. After sample deproteinization, acetaldehyde was derivatized with 2,4-dinitrophenylhydrazine (DNPH). The reaction was optimized for pH, amount of derivatization reagent,, time and temperature. Extraction methods of the acetaldehyde-hydrazone (AcH-DPN) stable derivative and product stability studies were carried out. Acetaldehyde was identified by its retention time in comparison to AcH-DPN standard, using a new chromatography gradient program, and quantitated based on external reference standards and standard addition calibration curves in the presence and absence of ethanol.
Derivatization of acetaldehyde was performed at pH 4.0 with a 80-fold molar excess of DNPH. The reaction was completed in 40 min at ambient temperature, and the product was stable for 2 days. A clear separation of AcH-DNP from DNPH was obtained with a new 11-min chromatography program. Acetaldehyde detection was linear up to 80 μM. The recovery of acetaldehyde was >88% in culture media, and >78% in plasma. We quantitatively determined the ethanol-derived acetaldehyde in hepatoma cells, rat blood and plasma with a detection limit around 3 μM. The accuracy of the method was <9% for intraday and <15% for interday measurements, in small volume (70 μl) plasma sampling.
An optimized method for the quantitative determination of acetaldehyde in biological systems was developed using derivatization with DNPH, followed by a short RP-HPLC separation of AcH-DNP. The method has an extended linear range, is reproducible and applicable to small volume sampling of culture media and biological fluids.
Ethanol; Acetaldehyde; Hydrazine; Hepatoma cells; Rat blood; plasma