Review of human butyrylcholinesterase structure, function, genetic variants, history of use in the clinic, and potential therapeutic uses

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

147 Scopus citations


Phase I clinical trials have shown that pure human butyrylcholinesterase (BChE) is safe when administered to humans. A potential therapeutic use of BChE is for prevention of nerve agent toxicity. A recombinant mutant of BChE that rapidly inactivates cocaine is being developed as a treatment to help recovering cocaine addicts avoid relapse into drug taking. These clinical applications rely on knowledge of the structure, stability, and properties of BChE, information that is reviewed here. Gene therapy with a vector that sustains expression for a year from a single injection is a promising method for delivering therapeutic quantities of BChE.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)34-46
Number of pages13
JournalPharmacology and Therapeutics
StatePublished - Apr 2015



  • Butyrylcholinesterase
  • Clinical use
  • Cocaine
  • Genetic variants
  • Nerve agent

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)

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