Thursday, April 16, 2009

AChE-R and Mass Spectroscopy

Dr. Hermona Soreq and her colleagues have published several papers and a book chapter which talk about various forms of cholinesterase, how they're regulated, and what they do. In particular, they talk about a form called readthrough acetylcholinesterase, or AChE-R, that the body produces in response to acute stress and exposure to cholinesterase inhibitors (CIs).

Apparently AChE-R is not fun stuff. It's pro-inflammatory, may cause neural damage, and may somehow make you more prone to other bad stuff. It hangs around for a long time after the stressful event/CI exposure too.

I want to be able to measure AChE-R, AChE, BChE (butyrylcholinesterase), and PON1 levels. I've got so many ideas for experiments I could run if only I could measure these things. Among other things, I hope it would let me test whether or not strawberries are really cholinesterase inhibitors or not. I really hope not, but a book from 1985 says they are, so I'm avoiding eating them until I can find or perform an independent verification or refutation that finding.

Unfortunately, I don't know how to accomplish measuring these things. I haven't seen anyone other than Dr. Soreq and her collaborators even talk about AChE-R, which is the most interesting one of all. They're mostly in Israel and I'm in the US. Even if they were optimally interested in working with me on this, I doubt samples would make it through customs.

My husband is suggesting we learn how to use a mass spectrometer so we can measure these things ourself. He's doing things like finding online courses and books at amazon and searching eBay for used mass spectrometers.

My idea is to try to find a lab in Pittsburgh (where we'll be for the rest of the year) with appropriate equipment and someone who is willing to help with this. I figure I could barter one-on-one tutoring with lab personnel. I can help them learn how to do various forms of automation to make their jobs easier in return for training and time on their equipment so I can do my cholinesterase inhibitor experiments.

I don't know how to find and set up something like this with an appropriate lab, but this really seems like the best option if I could pull it off. Any leads anyone?

1 comment:

  1. Did you ever make any progress on your mass spectrometer or other method for measuring CIs? I think this is fascinating.
    I have "rented" electron microscope time by the hour in the past...