Cholinesterase activity associated with neuritic plaques (NPs) and neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs) in Alzheimers disease (AD) brains exhibit altered histochemical properties, such as requiring lower pH (6.8) for optimal cholinesterase staining compared to the pH (8.0) for best visualization of cholinesterases in neurons. Furthermore, visualization of NPs and NFTs can be prevented by agents like the peptidase inhibitor/metalloantibiotic bacitracin. The anomalous behavior of cholinesterases associated with pathological lesions needs to be elucidated because of the putative links between these enzymes and the disease process in AD. In this study, cholinesterases were extracted from AD and normal brain tissue to determine whether the differences observed in histochemical analyses in the two sources were reflected in kinetic properties measured in solubilized enzymes. Isolated brain enzymes from both these sources exhibited comparable kinetic parameters with respect to pH dependence, substrate affinity and inhibitor sensitivity and were not significantly affected by other agents that blocked cholinesterase histochemical visualization, such as the structurally diverse metalchelating antibiotics bacitracin, doxycycline, minocycline and rifampicin. Although the cholinesterases from AD brain tissue examined here represented a total pool of these enzymes from AD brain, rather than enzymes specifically from NPs and NFTs, their kinetic behavior being comparable to cholinesterases isolated from normal brain tissues implies that these enzymes do not undergo disease-related modification in their primary structures. This suggests that the atypical histochemical behavior of cholinesterases in NPs and NFTs may result from interaction of cholinesterases with other molecules within these lesions, mediated by transition metal ions known to be present in AD pathology lesions.
Keywords: Acetylcholinesterase, butyrylcholinesterase, transition metals, donepezil, galantamine, rivastigmine, bacitracin, doxycycline, minocycline, rifampicin
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