Comparative study of human intestinal and hepatic esterases as related to enzymatic properties and hydrolizing activity for ester-type drugs

Jpn J Pharmacol. 1980 Aug;30(4):529-35. doi: 10.1254/jjp.30.529.


In attempts to determine the exact role of intestinal esterase in the body, we purified esterases from human intestinal mucosa and liver, and compared the enzymatic properties and substrate specificities with those of purified esterases. Esterase from human liver was purified 58-fold, by treatment with butanol, DE-52 and DEAE Sephadex A-50 column chromatographies, Sephadex G-200 gel filtration, and isoelectric focusing. The purified preparation showed a single band by polyacylamide gel electrophoresis. The molecular weights of intestinal and hepatic esterases were determined to be 53,000-55,000 and 180,000, respectively, by gel filtration on Sephadex G-200. The activity of the purified intestinal and hepatic esterases was strongly inhibited by diethyl-p-nitrophenyl phosphate and diisopropyl fluorophosphate, and was not inhibited by eserine sulfate and p-chloromercuribenzoate. Moreover, the purified esterases hydrolyzed ester-type drugs such as aspirin, clofibrate, indanyl carbenicillin and procaine. Hepatic esterase had properties similar to those of intestinal esterase with respect to the sensitivity to organophosphate and the substrate specificity. However, the two purified esterases differed in properties such as molecular weight, isoelectric point, thermostability and optimal pH.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Esterases / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Esterases / isolation & purification*
  • Esters
  • Humans
  • Hydrolysis
  • Inactivation, Metabolic
  • Intestinal Mucosa / enzymology*
  • Liver / enzymology*
  • Phosphates / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Substrate Specificity


  • Esters
  • Phosphates
  • Esterases