Background: Pro-inflammatory cytokine production is directly inhibited by acetylcholine (ACh), and a relationship between total circulating ACh hydrolytic capacity and inflammatory reactions has been previously reported. Butyrylcholinesterase (BChE) is the major ACh hydrolyzing enzyme in plasma, and the aim of our study was to evaluate its association with low-grade systemic inflammation.
Material and methods: A total of 4,077 patients clinically managed in the Cardiology, Hypertension, and Digestive Medicine Units were included in our study. Three subclinical chronic inflammatory degrees were established in accordance with the high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP) concentrations proposed, for low (< 1 mg/L), average (1-3 mg/L), and high (> 3-10 mg/L) cardiovascular disease risk estimation.
Results: In male patients with subclinical chronic inflammation and hsCRP concentrations < 1 mg/L, a significant positive correlation was observed between BChE and hsCRP (p < 0.02); however, for hsCRP concentrations > 3 mg/L, the correlation between these variables in both sexes becomes significantly negative (p < 0.001), as in patients with acute inflammation (hsCRP > 10 mg/L). In all cases significant positive correlations were obtained between the BChE activities and albumin concentrations (p < 0.001).
Conclusions: The liver production of BChE and albumin occurs in a coupled fashion, and these biochemical variables may be considered as negative inflammatory reactants, whose serum levels are inversely associated with the increasing degree of subclinical inflammation.