Preclinical Pharmacology in the Rhesus Monkey of CW 1759-50, a New Ultra-short Acting Nondepolarizing Neuromuscular Blocking Agent, Degraded and Antagonized by L-Cysteine

Anesthesiology. 2018 Nov;129(5):970-988. doi: 10.1097/ALN.0000000000002408.


What we already know about this topic: WHAT THIS ARTICLE TELLS US THAT IS NEW: BACKGROUND:: Structure-activity studies were performed to identify a new neuromuscular blocking agent retaining the ultra-short acting characteristics of gantacurium, including degradation and reversal by L-cysteine, but lacking its histaminoid properties in man. CW 1759-50 has emerged from this program.

Methods: Adduction of CW 1759-50 with L-cysteine was studied by high-performance liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry. Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee-approved comparisons of CW 1759-50 to gantacurium were performed in rhesus monkeys. ED95 for neuromuscular blockade was established. Spontaneous recovery was compared to reversal by L-cysteine in paired studies of boluses or infusions. In addition, changes in mean arterial pressure and heart rate after very large doses of 15 to 60 × ED95 were compared.

Results: The half-time of adduction of L-cysteine to CW 1759-50 in vitro was 2.3 min. The ED95 of CW 1759-50 was 0.069 ± 0.02 mg/kg; ED95 of gantacurium was 0.081 ± 0.05 mg/kg (P = 0.006). Duration of action (recovery to 95% twitch height after 98 to 99% blockade) was as follows: CW 1759-50, 8.2 ± 1.5 min; and gantacurium, 7.4 ± 1.9 min; (n = 8 and 9, P = 0.355). Administration of L-cysteine (30 mg/kg) shortened recovery (i.e., induced reversal) from CW 1759-50 after boluses or infusions (P always less than 0.0001). Recovery intervals (5 to 95% twitch) ranged from 6.1 to 6.7 min (and did not differ significantly) after boluses of 0.10 to 0.50 mg/kg, as well as control infusions (P = 0.426 by analysis of variance). Dose ratios comparing changes of 30% in mean arterial pressure or heart rate to ED95 for neuromuscular blockade (ED 30% Δ [mean arterial pressure or heart rate]/ED95) were higher for CW 1759-50 than for gantacurium.

Conclusions: CW 1759-50, similar to gantacurium, is an ultra-short acting neuromuscular blocking agent, antagonized by L-cysteine, in the monkey. The circulatory effects, however, are much reduced in comparison with gantacurium, suggesting a trial in humans.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Pressure / drug effects
  • Cysteine / metabolism*
  • Heart Rate / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Macaca mulatta
  • Male
  • Models, Animal
  • Neuromuscular Blockade / methods*
  • Neuromuscular Blocking Agents / metabolism*
  • Neuromuscular Blocking Agents / pharmacology*


  • Neuromuscular Blocking Agents
  • Cysteine