Specimen must arrive within 72 hours of draw. Date of draw is required.
Send whole blood specimen in original tube. Do not aliquot.
Make sure the potential offending agent is, indeed, an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor.
Erythrocyte acetylcholinesterase (AChE) activity is measured to evaluate possible exposure to organophosphate insecticides. Organophosphates act by irreversible inhibition of AChE. Inhibition of AChE in humans causes a variety of acute symptoms including dizziness, nausea, difficulty breathing, and even death. The presence and severity of these symptoms depend, in part, on the degree of AChE depression.
Occupational pesticide handlers are at an elevated risk for exposure to these chemicals through skin contact, inhalation, or accidental ingestion. Organophosphate intoxication can be a result of one or more high exposure events or through chronic lower-level exposure.
Both serum and erythrocyte cholinesterase activity are inhibited by these insecticides, which are among the most commonly used pesticides in the United States. The half-life of serum cholinesterase (eg. pseudocholinesterase) is about 8 days, while the half-life of AChE in erythrocytes is between 2 and 3 months. Therefore, erythrocyte AChE is an indicator of chronic and temporally distant exposures to organophosphates.