The Role of ALDH2 in the Metabolism of Toxic Aldehydes

Almost all chemical reactions in a biological cell require enzymes to occur at sufficient speeds. Like all catalysts, enzymes work by lowering the activation energy (Ea‡) necessary for a reaction to occur, thus dramatically increasing the speed of the reaction. As a result, products are formed faster, and reactions reach their equilibrium state more rapidly. When enzymes are present, most reactions occur at speeds that are millions of times faster than speeds of the same reactions in the absence of those enzymes. ALDH2 performs a critical detoxification function in human cells. Its main function is aiding in the metabolization of toxic endogenous and exogenous aldehydes to non-toxic final metabolites. ALDH2 administration results in the presence of all components necessary for the metabolic reaction (ALDH2, nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide, and acetaldehyde (or other toxic aldehydes)) in the bloodstream, thereby permitting the metabolic reaction to occur.

Moreover, ADLH2 administration allows the metabolic reaction to occur in the bloodstream rather than inside human cells (intracellular metabolism). Accordingly, ALDH2 administration will not cause organ toxicity, and will therefore be a very safe treatment.

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