The inhibition of cholinesterases (ChEs) by carbamates includes a carbamylation (inhibition) step, in which the drug transfers its carbamate moiety to the active site of the enzyme and a decarbamylation (activity recovery) step, in which the carbamyl group is hydrolyzed from the enzyme. The carbamylation and decarbamylation kinetics decide the extent and the duration of the inhibition, thus the full characterization of candidate carbamate inhibitors requires the measurement of the kinetic constants describing both steps. Carbamylation and decarbamylation rate constants are traditionally measured by two separate set of experiments, thus making the full characterization of candidate inhibitors time-consuming.
In this communication we show that by the analysis of the area under the inhibition-time curve of cholinesterases inhibited by carbamates it is possible to calculate the decarbamylation rate constant from the same data traditionally used to characterize only the carbamylation kinetics, therefore it is possible to obtain a full characterization of the inhibition with a single set of experiments. The characterization of the inhibition kinetics of human and dog plasma butyrylcholinesterase and of human acetylcholinesterase by bambuterol and bambuterol monocarbamate enantiomers was used to demonstrate the validity of the approach. The results showed that the proposed method provides reliable estimations of carbamylation and decarbamylation rate constants thus representing a simple and useful approach to reduce the time required for the characterization of carbamate inhibitors.