Learn About Pseudocholinesterase Deficiency

What is the definition of Pseudocholinesterase Deficiency?

Pseudocholinesterase deficiency is a condition that results in increased sensitivity to certain muscle relaxant drugs used during general anesthesia, called choline esters. These fast-acting drugs, such as succinylcholine and mivacurium, are given to relax the muscles used for movement (skeletal muscles), including the muscles involved in breathing. The drugs are often employed for brief surgical procedures or in emergencies when a breathing tube must be inserted quickly. Normally, these drugs are broken down (metabolized) by the body within a few minutes of being administered, at which time the muscles can move again. However, people with pseudocholinesterase deficiency may not be able to move or breathe on their own for a few hours after the drugs are administered. Affected individuals must be supported with a machine to help them breathe (mechanical ventilation) until the drugs are cleared from the body.

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What are the causes of Pseudocholinesterase Deficiency?

Pseudocholinesterase deficiency can be caused by mutations in the BCHE gene. This gene provides instructions for making the pseudocholinesterase enzyme, also known as butyrylcholinesterase, which is produced by the liver and circulates in the blood. The pseudocholinesterase enzyme is involved in the breakdown of choline ester drugs. It is likely that the enzyme has other functions in the body, but these functions are not well understood. Studies suggest that the enzyme may be involved in the transmission of nerve signals.

How prevalent is Pseudocholinesterase Deficiency?

Pseudocholinesterase deficiency occurs in 1 in 3,200 to 1 in 5,000 people. It is more common in certain populations, such as the Persian Jewish community and Alaska Natives.

Is Pseudocholinesterase Deficiency an inherited disorder?

When due to genetic causes, this condition is inherited in an autosomal recessive pattern, which means both copies of the gene in each cell have mutations. Most often, the parents of an individual with an autosomal recessive disorder have one copy of the altered gene in each cell and are called carriers. They can pass on the gene mutation to their children, but they do not usually experience signs and symptoms of the disorder. In some cases, carriers of BCHE gene mutations take longer than usual to clear choline ester drugs from the body, but not as long as those with two copies of the altered gene in each cell.

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Who are the sources who wrote this article ?

Published Date: April 01, 2012Published By: National Institutes of Health

What are the Latest Advances for Pseudocholinesterase Deficiency?

There is no recent research available for this condition. Please check back because thousands of new papers are published every week and we strive to find and display the most recent relevant research as soon as it is available.