ace·​tyl·​cho·​lin·​es·​ter·​ase | \ ə-ˌse-tᵊl-ˌkō-lə-ˈne-stə-ˌrās How to pronounce acetylcholinesterase (audio) , -ˌrāz \

Definition of acetylcholinesterase

: an enzyme that occurs chiefly in cholinergic nerve endings and promotes the hydrolysis of acetylcholine : cholinesterase sense 1

Note: Acetylcholinesterase is also found in red blood cells, where its function is unknown.

Examples of acetylcholinesterase in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Anyone up for a heated debate about acetylcholinesterase inhibitors? Paul Cappiello, The Courier-Journal, "Online dating is like dipping your toe into a plant society. Here's how to do it well," 17 Jan. 2020 The medical team sought to boost the pair’s production of acetylcholinesterase, an enzyme that is vital for the brain to communicate with muscles and that can be blocked by nerve agents. William Booth, Washington Post, "How a Russian ex-spy was saved from one of the deadliest nerve agents ever made," 29 May 2018 Toxicologists say that the first days after a poisoning are a crucial threshold for survival, as the body struggles to resynthesize an enzyme, acetylcholinesterase, which is inhibited by nerve agents. Ellen Barry, New York Times, "A Week After Novichok Exposure, 2 Britons’ Lives Hang in the Balance," 7 July 2018 Nerve agents, which inhibit the enzyme acetylcholinesterase, can cause fatal respiratory paralysis within minutes if the exposure is severe, the paper said. Ellen Barry, New York Times, "Skripal Attack Scared U.K. Doctors: ‘We Were Expecting Them Not to Survive’," 29 May 2018 However, a nerve agent stops acetylcholinesterase from doing its job. Simon Cotton, Scientific American, "Nerve Agents: What Are They and How Do They Work?," 9 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'acetylcholinesterase.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of acetylcholinesterase

1937, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for acetylcholinesterase

acetyl(choline) + cholinesterase

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The first known use of acetylcholinesterase was in 1937

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Cite this Entry

“Acetylcholinesterase.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Jan. 2021.

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ace·​tyl·​cho·​lin·​es·​ter·​ase | \ -ˌkō-lə-ˈnes-tə-ˌrās, -ˌrāz How to pronounce acetylcholinesterase (audio) \

Medical Definition of acetylcholinesterase

: an enzyme that occurs chiefly in cholinergic nerve endings and promotes the hydrolysis of acetylcholine : cholinesterase sense 1 The therapeutic rationale is that inhibition of acetylcholinesterase enhances sympathetic ganglionic neurotransmission and that the effect is maximal when the patient is upright, since sympathetic-nerve traffic is greatest in this position.— Roy Freeman, The New England Journal of Medicine, 7 Feb. 2008 Tacrine is a potent, centrally active, reversible acetylcholinesterase inhibitor that prevents the degradation of endogenously released acetylcholine.— Margaret J. Knapp et al., The Journal of the American Medical Association, 6 Apr. 1994

Note: Acetylcholinesterase is also found in red blood cells where its function there is unknown.

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Nglish: Translation of acetylcholinesterase for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about acetylcholinesterase

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