Acetylcholinesterase (Parkinson’s disease)

An enzyme (substance that facilitates chemical reactions) cholinergic neurons produce that breaks down acetylcholine into its two chemical components, choline and acetate. This process ends the acetylcholine cycle of activity. The faster acetylcholinesterase acts, the shorter the period of acetylcholine activity. When the activity period is too short, acetylcholine cannot function properly as a neurotransmitter and signals between neurons are “dropped.” One theory as to the cause of Alzheimer’s disease is that a dysfunction causes an accelerated release of acetylcholinesterase. The connection between acetylcholine and acetylcholinesterase and other dementias such as those that sometimes occur with Parkinson’s disease is less clear and remains a matter of interest for researchers.

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