Gender-related differences in hepatic activity of alcohol dehydrogenase isoenzymes and aldehyde dehydrogenase in humans

J Clin Lab Anal. 2003;17(3):93-6. doi: 10.1002/jcla.10076.


Alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) and aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH), which are most abundant in the liver, are the main enzymes involved in ethanol metabolism in humans. Gender-related differences in total liver ADH and ALDH activity among different animal species have been observed in many studies. We measured total ADH and ALDH activity, and the activity of class I-IV ADH in the livers of male and female patients. Total ADH and class I and II ADH activities were significantly higher in males than in females (P=0.0052, P=0.0074, P=0.020, respectively). Class III and IV ADH and total ALDH activities were not significantly different between the genders (P=0.2917, P=0.0590, P=0.2940, respectively). The results of our study clearly show that there is a difference in enzymatic activity between male and female patients for those isoenzymes that actively participate in ethanol oxidation in the liver (class I and II ADH), although the main form of ADH in this organ is class III ADH.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcohol Dehydrogenase / classification
  • Alcohol Dehydrogenase / metabolism*
  • Aldehyde Dehydrogenase / metabolism*
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Female
  • Hepatectomy / methods
  • Humans
  • Isoenzymes / classification
  • Isoenzymes / metabolism
  • Liver / metabolism*
  • Liver Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Liver Neoplasms / surgery
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Sex Characteristics*


  • Isoenzymes
  • Alcohol Dehydrogenase
  • Aldehyde Dehydrogenase