Aldehyde reductases (alcohol: NADP+-oxidoreductase, EC 18.104.22.168) I and II from human placenta have been purified to homogeneity. Aldehyde reductase I, molecular weight about 74 000, is a dimer of two nonidentical subunits of molecular weights of about 32 500 and 39 000, whereas aldehyde reductase II is a monomer of about 32 500. Aldehyde reductase I can be dissociated into subunits under high ionic concentrations. The isoelectric pH for aldehyde reductases I and II are 5.76 and 5.20, respectively. Amino acid compositions of the two enzymes are significantly different. Placenta aldehyde reductase I can utilize glucose with a lower affinity, whereas aldehyde reductase II is not capable of reducing aldo-sugars. Similarly, aldehyde reductase I does not catalyse the reduction of glucuronate while aldehyde reductase II has a high affinity for glucuronate. Both enzymes, however, exhibit strong affinity towards various other aldehydes such as glyceraldehyde, propionaldehyde, and pyridine-3-aldehyde. The pH optima for aldehyde reductases I and II are 6.0 and 7.0, respectively. Aldehyde reductase I can use both NADH and NADPH as cofactors, whereas aldehyde reductase II activity is dependent on NADPH only. Both enzymes are susceptible to inhibition by sulfhydryl group reagents, aldose reductase inhibitors, lithium sulfate, and sodium chloride to varying degrees.