Quantitative structure-pharmacokinetic relationships (QSPR) of beta blockers derived using neural networks

J Pharm Sci. 1995 Jul;84(7):862-5. doi: 10.1002/jps.2600840715.


This study demonstrates the application of neural networks to predict the pharmacokinetic properties of beta-adrenoreceptor antagonists in humans. A congeneric series of 10 beta-blockers, whose critical pharmacokinetic parameters are well established, was selected for the study. An appropriate neural network system was constructed and tested for its ability to predict the pharmacokinetic parameters from the octanol/water partition coefficient (shake flask method), the pKa, or the fraction bound to plasma proteins. Neural networks successfully trained and the predicted pharmacokinetic values agreed well with the experimental values (average difference = 8%). The neural network-predicted values showed better agreement with the experimental values than those predicted by multiple regression techniques (average difference = 47%). Because the neural networks had a large number of connections, two tests were conducted to determine if the networks were memorizing rather than generalizing. The "leave-one-out" method verified the generalization of the networks by demonstrating that any of the compounds could be deleted from the training set and its value correctly predicted by the new network (average error = 19%). The second test involved the prediction of pharmacokinetic properties of compounds never seen by the network, and reasonable results were obtained for three out of four compounds tested. The results indicate neural networks can be a powerful tool in exploration of quantitative structure-pharmacokinetic relationships.

MeSH terms

  • Acebutolol / pharmacokinetics
  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists / pharmacokinetics*
  • Alprenolol / pharmacokinetics
  • Animals
  • Atenolol / pharmacokinetics
  • Models, Statistical
  • Neural Networks, Computer*
  • Pharmacokinetics
  • Structure-Activity Relationship*


  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists
  • Atenolol
  • Acebutolol
  • Alprenolol