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A family of enzymes (BChE, choline esterase II, pseudocholinesterase, EC, 602 aa), produced mainly in the liver, that hydrolyse esters such as procaine and suxamethonium. There are several variants, dependent on four alleles, with different enzymatic activity; the variants that are expressed determine sensitivity to suxamethonium. Defects in the enzyme cause butyrylcholinesterase deficiency, an autosomal recessive metabolic disorder in which there is prolonged apnoea after the use of certain anesthetic drugs, including the muscle relaxant succinylcholine.

Subjects: Medicine and Health.

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