Cholesterol esterase catalyzes the hydrolysis of sterol esters into their component sterols and fatty acids. The enzyme is found primarily in the pancreas, but has been detected in other tissues as well. Bile salts, such as cholate and its conjugates, are required to stabilize the enzyme in its native polymeric form and to protect it from proteolytic hydrolysis in the intestine
It is used for determination of cholesterol in serum and plasma, with cholesterol oxidase or peroxidase and synthesis of optically active alcohols and carboxylic acids.
Its activators are Bile salts, Cholate, Glycocholate, Taurocholate and inhibitors are PMSF and p-chloromercuribenzoate, Diisopropyl fluorophosphate, Hg2+, Ag+, and ionic detergents, Aryl carbamates.