Design, Pharmacokinetic, and Pharmacodynamic Evaluation of a New Class of Soft Anticholinergics

Fenglei Huang, Clinton E. Browne, Whei Mei Wu, Attila Juhász, Fubao Ji, Nicholas Bodor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose. To design and evaluate a new class of soft anticholinergics with subtype selectivity. Methods. A new class of soft anticholinergics was designed based on the "inactive metabolite" approach. Four compounds were synthesized. The potency and soft nature of the compounds were evaluated by receptor binding, cardiac, and mydriatic studies. Stability and pharmacokinetic studies were also performed on these newly synthesized soft anticholinergics. Results. Receptor binding studies of the soft anticholinergics on cloned muscarinic receptors indicated pKi values in the range of 7.5 to 8.9. Two compounds, 9a and 13a, of the series showed muscarinic subtype receptor selectivity (M3/M2). In mydriatic studies, 13a and 13b showed shorter duration of action in the treated eyes than tropicamide. In the control eyes, significant dilation of pupils was found only in rabbits treated with atropine and tropicamide, indicating that the soft anticholinergics lack systemic effects because of their facile hydrolytic deactivation. Consistent with their soft nature, this new class of soft anticholinergics displayed much shorter cardiovascular effects in the carbachol-induced bradycardia (10 to 15 min) in rats than atropine (> 60 min). Stability and pharmacokinetic studies suggested that the new soft anticholinergics were rapidly eliminated from plasma (systemic circulation) after i.v. administration. Conclusions. A new class of anticholinergics was designed and synthesized, and the PK/PD evaluation confirmed they were potent "soft" anticholinergics; two of them showed muscarinic receptor subtype selectivity (M3/M 2).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1681-1689
Number of pages9
JournalPharmaceutical Research
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2003


  • Anticholinergic agents
  • Metabolism
  • Muscarinic receptor subtypes
  • Receptor binding
  • Soft drugs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Pharmacology (medical)

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