Muscarinic activity of the thiolactone, lactam, lactol, and thiolactol analogues of pilocarpine and a hypothetical model for the binding of agonists to the m1 receptor

J Med Chem. 1992 Jan;35(1):15-27. doi: 10.1021/jm00079a002.


Pilocarpine isosteres have been synthesized and characterized with regard to their in vitro muscarinic properties. The results indicate that the carbonyl oxygen of the lactone function of pilocarpine is of primary importance for agonist activity with the ether oxygen being of lesser or secondary importance. An X-ray structure determination for the hydrogen O,O'-ditoluoyltartrate salt of thiolactone pilocarpine isostere 2a has been performed. This compound has an unusual pharmacological profile exhibiting M1-agonist selectivity as well ass presynaptic antagonism. As a result this compound is also viewed as having therapeutic potential for Alzheimer's disease. A model for the binding of pilocarpine and other muscarinic agonists to the third transmembrane helix of the human m1 muscarinic receptor has been developed.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Binding, Competitive
  • Crystallography
  • Guinea Pigs
  • Lactams / chemical synthesis*
  • Lactams / metabolism
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Models, Biological
  • Parasympathomimetics / chemical synthesis*
  • Parasympathomimetics / metabolism
  • Pilocarpine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Receptors, Muscarinic / metabolism*
  • Stereoisomerism
  • Structure-Activity Relationship
  • Sulfhydryl Compounds / chemical synthesis*
  • Sulfhydryl Compounds / metabolism


  • Lactams
  • Parasympathomimetics
  • Receptors, Muscarinic
  • Sulfhydryl Compounds
  • Pilocarpine