Medical Dictionary

alcohol dehydrogenase


Medical Definition of alcohol dehydrogenase

  1. :  any of various dehydrogenases that catalyze the reversible oxidation of an alcohol to an aldehyde or ketone In humans, alcohol dehydrogenase is found especially in the liver and mucous-membrane lining of the stomach as a zinc-containing enzyme composed of two identical subunits that catalyzes the oxidation of an alcohol (such as ethanol) to an aldehyde (such as acetaldehyde) in the presence of NAD. Normally, alcohol is broken down by the enzyme alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH), which in turn produces acetaldehyde, a toxic compound that can cause high blood pressure, skin flushing, and vomiting.—Meredith F. Small, Discover, July 2002—abbreviation ADH

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