Butyrylcholinesterase (BChE) and acetylcholinesterase belong to the esterase family. They have roles in neurotransmission and in metabolizing drugs and toxins. Sharing similar biochemical and structural properties, they have overlapping functions. Patents obtained on these enzymes relate to the sequence of genes coding for the proteins, as well as methodological issues about screening of individuals who are susceptible to anticholinesterase drugs. Newer methods were described for production of large quantities of the protein that could be used in cocaine toxicity and overdose. The proteins were produced both in transgenic animals and in plant sources. In animals, they are excreted in milk and in urine. In view of their pathogenic roles in neurodegenerative diseases, methods were developed to identify Alzheimer's disease and to treat the fibril related diseases using antisense compounds related to the group of proteins. Lastly BChE was proposed to be a marker of low-grade systemic inflammation. In summary, for proteins with so few definitely known functions, there has been extensive work to utilize it in diagnosis and treatment. Some important patents on cholinesterases have been summarized in this review.
Keywords: Acetylcholinesterase, Alzheimer's disease, Butyrylcholinesterase, inflammation, insulin resistance, pharmacogenetics, recombinant, toxicity, type 2 diabetes mellitus, variant protein, Human cholinesterase genes
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