In vitro studies have implicated butyrylcholinesterase (BChE, E.C.220.127.116.11) as the major enzyme for metabolizing cocaine in humans, but little is known about endogenous BChE activity in monkeys and other animals often used in preclinical studies of cocaine. We compared BChE activity in 18 rhesus and 11 squirrel monkeys, using the colorimetric method of Ellman with butyrylthiocholine as substrate, and in vitro cocaine half-life in pooled plasma samples measuring cocaine concentrations over 60 minutes by CC-MS. Rhesus monkeys had a significantly higher plasma BChE activity than squirrel monkeys (8.2 ± 0.5 U/L vs. 2.8 ± 0.5 U/L), and a three-fold shorter in vitro cocaine half-life (20.1 min vs. 60.2 min). BChE activity in rhesus monkeys was comparative to the activity reported in humans. There was no significant influence of age, weight, or prior cocaine exposure. These results indicate that BChE level can vary between species of non-human primates, a factor that should be taken into account when studying drugs such as cocaine which are metabolized by BChE.
- Rhesus monkeys
- Squirrel monkey
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)