• Acetylcholinesterase;
  • Butyrylcholinesterase;
  • Cerebrospinal fluid;
  • Plasma;
  • Molecular forms

Abstract: The measurement of cholinesterase activities in either plasma or cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) may ultimately prove to be relevant in the diagnosis of neurological and neuropsychiatric disorders. However, studies to date have examined only total enzyme activities. Therefore in the present study we have examined the distribution of the individual molecular forms of both acetylcholinesterase (AChE) and butyrylcholinesterase (BChE) in plasma and CSF using sucrose density gradient centrifugation. Although the total activities of AChE were of the same order of magnitude in plasma and CSF, there was a considerable difference (120–500-fold) between total BChE activity in the CSF and the BChE-rich plasma. The analysis of the individual molecular forms revealed that the predominant molecular species of AChE and BChE in the CSF—both lumbar and ventricular—was the G4 form. The G4 form also constituted the majority of the plasma BChE activity and, on average, over half (56%) of the plasma AChE activity. The significance of the AChE and BChE molecular form compositions of both plasma and CSF and their possible relationship to pathological states are discussed.