Background: Coronary heart disease is the leading cause of mortality and morbidity, incurring
a major burden of medical care. Even with increasing application of emergent recanalization (PCI
and CABG) therapy, ischemia and ischemic reperfusion injury remain as the dominant pathological
process that damages cardiomyocytes. Mitochondrial Aldehyde dehydrogenase-2 (ALDH2) is a multifunctional
enzyme catalyzing the oxidation of aldehydes.
Objective: Accumulating data have shown that ALDH2 can help restore mitochondria function by
eliminating toxic aldehyde and participating in cellular signaling important for cell adaption and survival.
This article reviews the biology and pathobiology roles of ALDH2 in the ischemic cardiovascular
disease, focusing on the genetic evidence associated with the oriental patients.
Conclusion: The ALDH2*2 mutant allele (deficiency genotype) is present in nearly half of the East
Asian population. Development of a safe way to restore ALDH2 function in this population thus has
unique clinical implication.