Non-neuronal Role of Acetylcholinesterase in Bone Development and Degeneration

Xiaohe Luo, Marianne Lauwers, Paul G. Layer, Chunyi Wen

Research output: Journal article publicationReview articleAcademic researchpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Acetylcholinesterase (AChE), an enzyme catalyzing the degradation of acetylcholine, plays an important suppressive role in the cholinergic regulation by terminating the action of acetylcholine. The expression of acetylcholinesterase and other cholinergic components is not restricted to only brain and nerve tissues but can also be found in non-neuronal tissues like the immune system and bone tissue. Primary identification of these components has been achieved. However, the information about their specific functions and underlying molecular mechanisms in bone remains scattered. Here, the physiological process of bone development, homeostasis, and degeneration are introduced. Next, the cholinergic system and its expression in bone tissue is documented. Among them, special attention goes to AChE, as the structure of this enzyme suggests diverse binding affinities, enabled by a peripheral site and a catalytic site. The peripheral site supports the non-enzymatic function of AChE in non-neuronal systems. Based on recent studies, the non-neuronal roles of acetylcholinesterase, both enzymatically and non-enzymatically, in bone development, homeostasis and degeneration are summarized briefly together with potential mechanisms to support these functions. We conclude that AChE may be a potential therapeutic target for bone diseases like osteoporosis.

Original languageEnglish
Article number33585459
Pages (from-to)620543-620543
JournalFrontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jan 2021


  • acetylcholinesterase
  • bone degeneration
  • bone development
  • bone homeostasis
  • non-enzymatic
  • osteoporosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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