Acta Med. 2004, 47: 215-228

Acetylcholinesterase and Butyrylcholinesterase – Important Enzymes of Human Body

Jiří Patočkaa,b, Kamil Kučaa, Daniel Juna

aPurkyně Military Medical Academy in Hradec Králové, Department of Toxicology, Hradec Králové, Czech Republic
bUniversity of South Bohemia, Faculty of Health and Social Studies, Department of Radiology and Toxicology, České Budějovice, Czech Republic

Received April 1, 2004
Accepted July 1, 2004

The serine hydrolases and proteases are a ubiquitous group of enzymes that is fundamental to many critical lifefunctions. Human tissues have two distinct cholinesterase activities: acetylcholinesterase and butyrylcholinesterase. Acetylcholinesterase functions in the transmission of nerve impulses, whereas the physiological function of butyrylcholinesterase remains unknown. Acetylcholinesterase is one of the crucial enzymes in the central and peripheral nerve system. Organophosphates and carbamates are potent inhibitors of serine hydrolases and well suited probes for investigating the chemical reaction mechanism of the inhibition. Understanding the enzyme’s chemistry is essential in preventing and/or treating organophosphate and carbamate poisoning as well as designing new medicaments for cholinergic-related diseases like as Alzheimer’s disease.


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