Two cholinesterases exist: Acetylcholinesterase (AChE) and butyrylcholinesterase
(BChE). While AChE plays a crucial role in neurotransmissions, BChE has no specific function
apart from the detoxification of some drugs and secondary metabolites from plants. Thus,
both AChE and BChE can serve as biochemical markers of various pathologies. Poisoning by
nerve agents like sarin, soman, tabun, VX, novichok and overdosing by drugs used in some
neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer´s disease and myasthenia gravis, as well as poisoning
by organophosphorus pesticides are relevant to this issue. But it appears that changes
in these enzymes take place in other processes including oxidative stress, inflammation, some
types of cancer and genetically conditioned diseases. In this review, the cholinesterases are
introduced, the mechanism of inhibitors action is explained and the relations between the cholinesterases
and pathologies are explained.
Keywords: Acetylcholinesterase, anesthesia, butyrylcholinesterase, diagnosis, liver function test, myorelaxant,
nerve agent, neurotransmission, pesticide, poisoning.
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