Date of Graduation

7-2018

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Degree Level

Undergraduate

Department

Psychological Science

Advisor

Ham, Lindsay

Reader

Stauss, Kimberly

Second Reader

Levine, Bill

Third Reader

Alverson, Andrew

Abstract

Around 45% of East Asians are unable to fully metabolize ethanol due to functional

polymorphisms of alcohol metabolism genes, specifically alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) and aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH). These individuals display high levels of toxic blood acetaldehyde when consuming alcohol, causing symptoms such as tachycardia, vomiting, and flushing. The studies included in this review examine how functional polymorphisms of ADH and ALDH protect against alcoholism in addition to how polymorphisms can be utilized as protection against alcoholism via gene therapy. The studies included found that carriers of the ADH and ALDH polymorphisms were 66 to 99% genetically protected against alcoholism. Through the use of gene pharmacology involving ADH and ALDH mimicry, gene therapy was seen to reduce ethanol intake in several animal models, furthering the development of new treatments for alcoholism.

Keywords

aldehyde dehydrogenase, alcohol dehydrogenase, Asian, flush, polymorphism, gene therapy, alcoholism

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