AChE stands for acetylcholinesterase, which is an enzyme that is found in the nervous system of both humans and animals.
Its primary function is to break down the neurotransmitter acetylcholine into choline and acetate. This process is crucial in terminating the action of acetylcholine at the nerve synapse, which allows for the proper functioning of the nervous system. AChE is found in the neuromuscular junctions, where it plays an essential role in the regulation of muscle contraction. The enzyme is also present in the brain, where it plays a critical role in cognitive functions such as learning and memory. The activity of AChE can be inhibited by various drugs and chemicals, including organophosphates and carbamates, which are used as insecticides and nerve agents. AChE inhibitors work by preventing the breakdown of acetylcholine, leading to the accumulation of the neurotransmitter at the nerve synapse, which can result in overstimulation of the nervous system and can be harmful or lethal. The measurement of AChE activity is commonly used in medical and environmental testing, as a decrease in AChE activity can indicate exposure to certain toxins or diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
Acetylcholinesterase (AChE) is used in various laboratory applications, some examples include:
- Enzyme kinetics studies: AChE is commonly used as a model enzyme in enzyme kinetics studies to investigate the mechanism of enzyme-catalyzed reactions and to determine the enzyme kinetics parameters such as the Michaelis-Menten constant (Km) and maximum velocity (Vmax).
- Drug discovery and development: AChE inhibitors are used in the treatment of diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, and AChE is used in drug discovery and development to screen and evaluate potential inhibitors of the enzyme.
- Environmental monitoring: AChE is used in environmental monitoring to detect and measure the levels of certain chemicals such as organophosphate and carbamate pesticides, which are known to inhibit AChE activity in living organisms.
- Clinical diagnosis: The measurement of AChE activity in blood and cerebrospinal fluid is used in clinical diagnosis to detect and monitor various medical conditions, such as Alzheimer’s disease, myasthenia gravis, and organophosphate poisoning.
- Biosensors: AChE is used in the development of biosensors for the detection of acetylcholine and related compounds. The biosensors can be used for various applications, including in vitro diagnostics, drug screening, and environmental monitoring.
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