Article

Journal of Molecular Neuroscience

, Volume 53, Issue 3, pp 298-305

First online:

Cholinesterases as Biomarkers for Parasympathetic Dysfunction and Inflammation-Related Disease

  • Shani Shenhar-TsarfatyAffiliated withThe Edmond and Lily Safra Center for Brain Science and Department of Biological Chemistry, The Life Sciences Institute, The Hebrew University of JerusalemInternal Medicine “E” and Neurology Departments, Tel Aviv Medical Center, affiliated to the Sackler School of Medicine, Tel Aviv University
  • , Shlomo BerlinerAffiliated withInternal Medicine “E” Department, Tel Aviv Medical Center, affiliated to the Sackler School of Medicine, Tel Aviv University
  • , Natan M. BornsteinAffiliated withNeurology Department, Tel Aviv Medical Center, affiliated to the Sackler School of Medicine, Tel Aviv University
  • , Hermona SoreqAffiliated withThe Edmond and Lily Safra Center for Brain Science and Department of Biological Chemistry, The Life Sciences Institute, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem Email author 

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Abstract

Accumulating evidence suggests parasympathetic dysfunction and elevated inflammation as underlying processes in multiple peripheral and neurological diseases. Acetylcholine, the main parasympathetic neurotransmitter and inflammation regulator, is hydrolyzed by the two closely homologous enzymes, acetylcholinesterase and butyrylcholinesterase (AChE and BChE, respectively), which are also expressed in the serum. Here, we consider the potential value of both enzymes as possible biomarkers in diseases associated with parasympathetic malfunctioning. We cover the modulations of cholinesterase activities in inflammation-related events as well as by cholinesterase-targeted microRNAs. We further discuss epigenetic control over cholinesterase gene expression and the impact of single-nucleotide polymorphisms on the corresponding physiological and pathological processes. In particular, we focus on measurements of circulation cholinesterases as a readily quantifiable readout for changes in the sympathetic/parasympathetic balance and the implications of changes in this readout in health and disease. Taken together, this cumulative know-how calls for expanding the use of cholinesterase activity measurements for both basic research and as a clinical assessment tool.

Keywords

Cholinesterases Acetylcholinesterase Butyrylcholinesterase Biomarkers Diseases Inflammation