Naunyn-Schmiedeberg's Archives of Pharmacology

, Volume 338, Issue 5, pp 476–483 | Cite as

The relative potencies of cholinomimetics and muscarinic antagonists on the rat iris in vivo: effects of pH on potency of pirenzepine and telenzepine

  • J. J. Hagan
  • B. van der Heijden
  • C. L. E. Broekkamp


The effects of cholinomimetics and muscarinic antagonists were compared following topical administration to the eyes of anaesthetized rats. For tests with cholinomimetics, clonidine (0.3 mg/kg) was used to induce mydriasis via central inhibition of parasympathetic tone. Full, dose-dependent miosis was induced by acetylcholinesterase inhibitors [physostigmine > neostigmine > tetrahydroaminoacridine (THA)] and by membrane channel blockers (4-aminopyridine > 3,4-diaminopyridine). Oxotremorine was the most potent direct agonist tested [oxotremorine > arecaidine propargylester (APE) > arecolne > carbachol > ethoxyethyltrimethyl-ammonium iodide (EOE) > RS 86]. Some putative M1 selective agonists were weakly active or behaved as partial agonists (pilocarpine > AH6405 > Mc-A-343 > isoarecoline). Of the antagonists, compared in non-clonidine treated rats, scopolamine hydrochloride was the most potent. Of the receptor selective antagonists the M2 (ileal) selective compounds hexahydrosiladifenidol and 4-DAMP were more potent than either M1 selective (pirenzepine, telenzepine) or M2 (atrial) selective (AF DX 116) drugs. These data tentatively suggest the involvement of an M2 (ileal) type muscarinic receptor. Potency was lower for quaternary structures, probably due to impaired corneal penetration. The potency of pirenzepine and telenzepine was increased 60-fold at low pH following topical administration. Acid induced corneal damage does not appear to account for this potency shift as the effects of scopolamine and several agonists (oxotremorine, pilocarpine and McN-A-343) were not substantially altered by acid media. For pirenzepine the potency shift appears to be related to protonation of the second amino group (N1) in the piperazine tail (pKa = 2.05). Intraocular injections suggest that diprotonation facilitates penetration through the cornea. This anomalous behaviour of pirenzepine may contribute to its potency in gastric acid inhibition where the acid environment of the stomach would favour the diprotonated state and therefore penetration through the epithelium.

Key words

Mydriasis Muscarinic antagonist Cholinomimetics M1/M2 Receptors Pirenzepine pH 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. J. Hagan
    • 1
  • B. van der Heijden
    • 1
  • C. L. E. Broekkamp
    • 1
  1. 1.CNS Pharmacology LabsOrganon International B. V.BH OssThe Netherlands

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