Butyrylcholinesterase (BChE) is mostly associated with the detoxification of xenobiotics. In this study to analyze the involvement of BChE in lipid metabolism, linoleic acid (LA) and a-linolenic acid (ALA) were applied to HepG2 cells along with expression of wild type human BChE. After 48 h of these treatments WST-1 cell proliferation assay, FACS analysis, RT-PCR, Oil Red O staining and activity assays were performed. Application of high concentrations of LA to HepG2 cells without BChE transfection lead to detachment of the cells. The IC50 value LA was found as 149.3 mu M whereas the IC50 value for ALA could not be calculated. Hence, in order to display minimal effects on cell viability, 5 mu M was chosen as appropriate concentration for LA and ALA application to HepG2 cells. Transfection of wild-type BChE plasmid to HepG2 cells yielded increased BChE expression. Application of 5 mu M ALA after BChE transfection to HepG2 cells resulted in increased expression of BChE. Although with this low concentration the number of apoptotic cells was decreased with ALA treatments, LA application did not cause a similar result with the same dose. Moreover ghost cell like property was observed in LA-treated cells. Application of ALA, on the other hand, led to an overall increase in cell numbers, BChE expression and activity. Our results indicate that BChE expression might be regulated by ALA in HepG2 cells. (C) 2016 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.