Neuromethods Volume 33, 1999, pp 131-194

On the Measurement of Enzymes and their Inhibitors

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Abstract

It is inevitable that most graduate students and researchers in the neurosciences will, from time to time, be faced with a problem related to enzymes. Tasks such as screening novel compounds for enzyme-inhibitor potency, examining the effects of drug administration on enzyme activities, employing enzymes as markers of disease state or cell fractionation, and elucidation of metabolic pathways for psychiatric drugs, are carried out on a regular basis. Yet few topics engender such anxiety and confusion for students of the neurosciences as does enzymology, with the consequence that relatively straightforward experiments can take weeks to complete, and results obtained are often misinterpreted or might even be meaningless. Most researchers doing enzyme assays are not enzymologists who deal with enzymes on a daily basis. Rather, they are following an assay protocol described in a manuscript or textbook, with no apparent necessity to understand the fundamentals of how enzymes and their inhibitors work in order to obtain results. More often than not, the researcher alters the original protocol slightly to suit the materials and apparatus available or to address a different question from that which the assay was designed to answer