Alcoholism and liver disease in Mexico: genetic and environmental factors

World J Gastroenterol. 2013 Nov 28;19(44):7972-82. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v19.i44.7972.


Alcoholism and cirrhosis, which are two of the most serious health problems worldwide, have a broad spectrum of clinical outcomes. Both diseases are influenced by genetic susceptibility and cultural traits that differ globally but are specific for each population. In contrast to other regions around the world, Mexicans present the highest drinking score and a high mortality rate for alcoholic liver disease with an intermediate category level of per capita alcohol consumption. Mexico has a unique history of alcohol consumption that is linked to profound anthropological and social aspects. The Mexican population has an admixture genome inherited from different races, Caucasian, Amerindian and African, with a heterogeneous distribution within the country. Thus, genes related to alcohol addiction, such as dopamine receptor D2 in the brain, or liver alcohol-metabolizing enzymes, such as alcohol dehydrogenase class I polypeptide B, cytochrome P450 2E1 and aldehyde dehydrogenase class 2, may vary from one individual to another. Furthermore, they may be inherited as risk or non-risk haplogroups that confer susceptibility or resistance either to alcohol addiction or abusive alcohol consumption and possibly liver disease. Thus, in this era of genomics, personalized medicine will benefit patients if it is directed according to individual or population-based data. Additional association studies will be required to establish novel strategies for the prevention, care and treatment of liver disease in Mexico and worldwide.

Keywords: Alcohol; Alcohol abuse; Alcohol addiction; Alcohol dependence; Alcoholic liver cirrhosis; Alcoholism; Anthropology; Genes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alcohol Drinking / adverse effects
  • Alcohol Drinking / ethnology*
  • Alcohol Drinking / genetics*
  • Alcohol Drinking / mortality
  • Alcoholic Beverages
  • Alcoholism / ethnology*
  • Alcoholism / genetics*
  • Alcoholism / mortality
  • Cultural Characteristics
  • Gene-Environment Interaction*
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Heredity
  • Humans
  • Liver Diseases, Alcoholic / ethnology*
  • Liver Diseases, Alcoholic / genetics*
  • Liver Diseases, Alcoholic / mortality
  • Mexico / epidemiology
  • Pedigree
  • Prognosis
  • Risk Factors
  • Social Behavior