Catalyzes the NADPH-dependent reduction of succinic semialdehyde to gamma-hydroxybutyrate. May have an important role in producing the neuromodulator gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB). Has broad substrate specificity. Has NADPH-dependent aldehyde reductase activity towards 2-carboxybenzaldehyde, 2-nitrobenzaldehyde and pyridine-2-aldehyde (in vitro). Can reduce 1,2-naphthoquinone and 9,10-phenanthrenequinone (in vitro). Can reduce the dialdehyde protein-binding form of aflatoxin B1 (AFB1) to the non-binding AFB1 dialcohol. May be involved in protection of liver against the toxic and carcinogenic effects of AFB1, a potent hepatocarcinogen.
Detected in brain, liver, small intestine and testis, and at lower levels in heart, prostate, skeletal muscle and spleen. Detected in kidney proximal and distal tubules, endothelial cells lining the Bowman's capsules and some cysts. Detected at low levels in lung and pancreas (at protein level). Widely expressed.