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Cholinesterases are enzymes which hydrolyse the neurotransmitter acetylcholine.

There are two main groups:

  • true cholinesterase:
    • localised to cholinergic synapses
    • specific for acetylcholine
    • membrane-bound

  • pseudocholinesterase:
    • hydrolyses butyrylcholine faster than acetylcholine
    • non-specific
    • important in the metabolism of drugs such as suxamethonium
    • found soluble in the plasma

Last reviewed 01/2018