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    Inhibitory effects of the dopamine D2-receptor antagonistic benzamide compound metoclopramide (MCP) on acetylcholinesterase (AChE; EC isoenzymes of both erythrocytes and human caudate nucleus and on human serum cholinesterase (ChE; EC were studied in vitro using a spectrophotometric assay with acetylthiocholine (ASCh) as substrate. MCP concentrations in the assays varied from 0.30 microM to 0.15 mM. All isoenzymes studied were inhibited by metoclopramide in a concentration-dependent manner. MCP inhibition of AChE and ChE isoenzymes was not time-dependent and of the reversible type. Double reciprocal plots of the reaction velocity against varying ASCh concentrations revealed that, for AChE isoenzymes of erythrocytes and of the caudate nucleus, MCP reduced both maximal reaction velocity (Vmax) and substrate affinity (apparent Michaelis constant, KM, increased). Thus, MCP inhibition of both AChE isoenzymes was of mixed competitive/non-competitive type. MCP constants for reversible competitive (Ki) and non-competitive (Ki) inhibition could be determined for erythrocyte AChE (Ki = 10 microM; Ki = 70 microM) and caudate nucleus AChE (Ki = 9.3 microM; Ki = 82 microM). In contrast to MCP inhibition of AChE isoenzymes, the type of reversible MCP inhibition of human serum ChE depended on substrate concentration. If substrate concentration exceeded 0.2 mM, MCP inhibition was of mixed competitive/non-competitive type (Ki = 0.19 microM; Ki = 1.4 microM). MCP inhibition was of uncompetitive type, if substrate concentration was below 0.2 mM (Ki(u) = 1.0 microM). The mixed-type MCP inhibition of cholinesterase isoenzymes, because of its non-competitive component, can only partially be overcome by increased concentrations of the cholinergic transmitter acetylcholine (ACh). Since, with intravenous infusions, peak MCP plasma concentrations in humans reach 4 microM, MCP inhibition of ACh hydrolysis in vivo may contribute both to prokinetic and anti-emetic actions of the substance and to its extrapyramidal side effects.


    J M Chemnitius, K H Haselmeyer, B D Gonska, H Kreuzer, R Zech. Indirect parasympathomimetic activity of metoclopramide: reversible inhibition of cholinesterases from human central nervous system and blood. Pharmacological research. 1996 Jul-Aug;34(1-2):65-72

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    PMID: 8981558

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