1. We have used dose-ratio analysis to estimate functionally the affinity constants (pKb) and Schild slope factors of a range of selective or atypical antagonists at human muscarinic m1-m4 receptors. 2. The functional response was the stimulation by acetylcholine of [35S]-GTP gamma S binding to membranes from Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells stably expressing individual receptor subtypes. 3. A novel experimental design and analysis was used which allowed the estimation of affinity and Schild slope factor from a single antagonist inhibition curve, and the results were compared with other methods of analysis, both theoretically valid and invalid. 4. In general, the affinity estimates were very similar to previously reported values obtained in binding studies with animal tissues and cloned human receptors and the Schild slope factors were close to unity. 5. These results demonstrate the validity of the assay and provide no evidence for species differences in antagonist affinity for muscarinic receptor subtypes. 6. The results confirm both the utility of himbacine in distinguishing between m1 and m4 receptors and a previously reported modest m4-selectivity for tropicamide and secoverine. 7. The cholinesterase inhibitor, tacrine (THA), had a potency profile similar to that of gallamine but with less selectivity. Its affinity could not be determined since it had Schild slope factors of about 2 at all subtypes. 8. o-Methoxy-sila-hexocyclium had only a modest selectivity for the m1 subtype.