ADH1B*2 allele is protective against alcoholism but not chronic liver disease in the Hungarian population

Reka Toth, Zsuzsa Pocsai, Szilvia Fiatal, Gyorgy Szeles, Laszlo Kardos, Beata Petrovski, Martin McKee, Roza Adany*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Background Standardized death rates from chronic liver diseases (CLDs) in Hungary are much higher than the European Union average. Carrying the alcohol dehydrogenase 1B 48His allele (rs1229984 or ADH1B*2) could decrease the risk of alcoholism, but with persistent drinking may confer a greater risk of CLDs. The aim of this study was to assess the prevalence of this polymorphism in the Hungarian population and its association with alcohol consumption and with CLDs. Methods and results A total of 278 cases with diagnosed CLDs and 752 controls without any alterations in liver function, all males aged 45-64, were screened for ADH1B Arg48His polymorphism. ADH1B*2 allele frequencies in controls and cases were 8.31% and 4.50%, respectively (χ2 = 9.2; P = 0.01). Carrying the ADH1B*2 allele was associated with significantly lower odds ratio (OR) for drinking frequency (OR = 0.63; P = 0.003), the number of positive answers on CAGE (Cut-down, Annoyed, Guilt, Eye-opener) assessment (OR = 0.58; P = 0.005) and a positive CAGE status (OR = 0.55; P = 0.007). There was a significant association between ADH1B*2 and CLDs (OR = 0.50; P = 0.003), but it disappeared after adjusting for CAGE status and scores (OR = 0.67 P = 0.134; OR = 0.67 P = 0.148, respectively) and weakened after adjusting for drinking frequency (OR = 0.61; P = 0.045). Among heavy drinkers the presence of ADH1B*2 did not increase the risk of cirrhosis but there was a significant interaction between genotype and CAGE status (P = 0.003, P = 0.042), with ADH1B*2 conferring reduced risk of CLDs in CAGE negatives. Conclusion In Hungarians, the ADH1B 48His allele reduces the risk of alcoholism, but not the risk of chronic liver disease among heavy drinkers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)891-896
Number of pages6
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Alcohol
  • Alcohol dehydrogenase
  • Case control study
  • Chronic liver diseases
  • Genetic
  • Genetic epidemiology


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