Ethnic variation in the CYP2E1 gene: polymorphism analysis of 695 African-Americans, European-Americans and Taiwanese

Pharmacogenetics. 1994 Aug;4(4):185-92. doi: 10.1097/00008571-199408000-00002.


Human cytochrome P4502E1 (CYP2E1) is inducible by ethanol and is involved in metabolism of many known carcinogens including N-nitrosodimethylamine, butadiene, benzene, and carbon tetrachloride. A 50-fold variability in CYP2E1 enzyme activity in humans has been observed but it is unknown whether the basis for this variation is genetic or environmental. Recently, two restriction fragment length polymorphisms (RFLPs) within the CYP2E1 gene have been suggested as genetic markers of risk for cancer. The first was a Rsa I polymorphism in the 5' regulatory region that appeared to alter transcriptional activation of the gene and the second was a Dra I polymorphism located approximately 7000 bp downstream in an intron. Rare alleles at each of these loci have been associated with a reduced risk for lung cancer in Japanese and Swedish populations. We have used a polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR-RFLP) method to determine the genotype frequency for each of these CYP2E1 RFLPs in 695 individuals of Taiwanese, African-American or European-American background. Genotype and allele frequencies for Taiwanese were significantly different from those of African-Americans and European-Americans at either Rsa I or Dra I sites (p < 0.0001). Allele frequencies for African-Americans and European-Americans were significantly different at the Rsa I site (p = 0.03). The rare alleles (c2 and C) occurred at frequencies of 0.28 and 0.24 in Taiwanese, 0.01 and 0.08 in African-Americans, and 0.04 and 0.11 in European-Americans. In addition, we describe three haplotypes common to all three population samples and a fourth haplotype that was only detected in the Taiwanese population sample. This fourth haplotype may have been caused by a recombination event between these markers.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

MeSH terms

  • Asians / genetics
  • Blacks / genetics
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP2E1
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System / genetics*
  • DNA Primers
  • Deoxyribonucleases, Type II Site-Specific
  • Europe / ethnology
  • Genotype
  • Haplotypes
  • Humans
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Oxidoreductases, N-Demethylating / genetics*
  • Polymorphism, Restriction Fragment Length*
  • Taiwan
  • United States
  • Whites / genetics


  • DNA Primers
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP2E1
  • Oxidoreductases, N-Demethylating
  • Deoxyribonucleases, Type II Site-Specific
  • GTAC-specific type II deoxyribonucleases
  • TTTAAA -specific type II deoxyribonucleases