What is Esterase?

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  • Written By: Shannon Kietzman
  • Edited By: Niki Foster
  • Last Modified Date: 16 October 2018
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Esterase is a type of enzyme that causes esters to split into an acid and an alcohol within the human body. When these two components are mixed with water, it is called hydrolysis.

There are several kinds of esterase. Three factors set each type apart from the others: substrate specificity, biological function, and protein structure. Some types are found in lysozomes and are called acid hydrolase. Other types of esterase include the following:


  • Cholesterol esterase — Also referred to as cholesterol ester hydrolase and sterol esterase, this form occurs in the pancreas, the intestinal mucosa, the liver, and the kidney. It even occurs in the muscle. Cholesterol esterase is used clinically to locate the presence of cholesterol in most patients.

  • Leukocyte esterase — This type is used to determine whether or not white blood cells and irregularities that could cause infections are in the body. It is detected with the help of a urine test.

  • Cholinesterase — Cholinesterase consists of acetylcholinesterase, which is found in the blood, and pseudocholinesterase, which is found in the blood plasma of the liver. These two composites can quickly transform the hydrolysis of neurotransmitter acetylcholine into acetic acid and choline. The combination of acetic acid and choline causes a reaction, resulting in the cholinergic neutron becoming dormant after activity.

    If the psudocholinesterase enzyme is not present in the body, a nutrient deficiency can result. Persons with this deficiency may have to be administered muscle relaxants during surgery. Cholinesterase inhibitors, on the other hand, are often called anticholinesterase. They are used in the treatment of glaucoma and Alzheimer’s disease. They are also used as an anesthesia.

  • Alkaline phosphatase — This type extracts phosphate groups from molecules, including proteins and alkaloids, while lipase breaks down fat and lipids. This forms fatty acids and glycerol, or any other form of alcohol, in the body.

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What is the significance of pseudocholinesterase in poisoning?

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