Classification and Comparative Enzymology of the Cholinesterases and Methods for their Determination

  • Klas-Bertil Augustinsson
Part of the Handbook of Experimental Pharmacology book series (HEP, volume 15)


Cholinesterases (ChE’s) are defined simply as enzymes which catalyze the hydrolysis of choline esters. There has been considerable discussion during the last 20 years on the specificity of these enzymes, their role in physiological systems, and the pharmacological importance of cholinesterase inhibitors. Everybody taking part in this discussion on the biochemical level will probably agree with the following; There are enzymes present in the animal body which split acetylcholine (ACh) and other choline esters at a very high rate. None of these enzymes so far studied splits only esters of choline; non-choline esters are also hydrolyzed, but at a lower rate. The specificity of cholinesterases therefore is not absolute, and “true” cholinesterases do not exist as far as the specificity is concerned.


Esterase Activity Anionic Site Cholinesterase Activity Serum Cholinesterase Acta Physiol 
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