The quantitative analysis of drug-receptor interactions: a short history

Trends Pharmacol Sci. 2006 Mar;27(3):149-57. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2006 Feb 17.


Pharmacology started to develop into a real quantitative science in 1909, when A.V. Hill derived the Langmuir equation in the course of his studies on nicotine and curare. A history of the developments since then shows both brilliant insights and missed opportunities. It also shows that much remains to be done. There is still no mathematical description that can describe quantitatively the actions of agonists on G-protein-coupled receptors, although progress has been greater with agonist-activated ion channels, which are much simpler.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological*
  • Pharmacology* / methods
  • Protein Binding
  • Receptors, Cell Surface* / agonists
  • Receptors, Cell Surface* / antagonists & inhibitors


  • Receptors, Cell Surface