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Pre-conditioning is an exciting physiological phenomenon that, despite great efforts, has so far resisted translation to mainstream clinical medicine. Many potential triggers (e.g., ischemia of the organ in question or a remote organ, many different drugs) have been investigated, but recent work has implicated activation of mitochondrial aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH2) as central to the process. A genetic polymorphism, known as ALDH2*2, is common worldwide (present in up to 40% of Han Chinese people) and produces a functionally different enzyme. The authors used a variety of protocols in the human ischemic forearm model, in participants with both enzyme types, to assess cytoprotection with low-dose sodium nitrite and attempt to further elucidate the role of ALDH2.

Original publication




Journal article


JACC Basic Transl Sci

Publication Date





13 - 21


ALDH2, mitochondrial aldehyde dehydrogenase, Ach, acetylcholine, FBF, forearm blood flow, FBF-R, forearm blood flow ratio, GTN, glyceryl trinitrate, IR, ischemia–reperfusion, RIPC, remote ischemic pre-conditioning, cytoprotection, endothelium, nitric oxide, nitrite, reperfusion injury