Imidazol(in)e derivatives, having the chemical structure similar to clonidine, exert diverse pharmacological activities connected with their interactions with alpha2-adrenergic receptors, e.g. hypotension, bradycardia, sedation as well as antinociceptive, anxiolytic, antiarrhythmic, muscle relaxant and mydriatic effects. The mechanism of pupillary dilation observed after systemic administration of imidazol(in)es to rats, mice and cats depends on the stimulation of postsynaptic alpha2-adrenoceptors within the brain. It was proved that the central nervous system (CNS)-localized I1-imidazoline receptors are not engaged in those effects. It appeared interesting to analyze the CNS-mediated pharmacodynamics of imidazole(in)e agents in terms of their chromatographic and calculation chemistry-derived parameters.
In the present study a systematic determination and comparative pharmacometric analysis of mydriatic effects in rats were performed on a series of 20 imidazol(in)e agents, composed of the well-known drugs and of the substances used in experimental pharmacology. The eye pupil dilatory activities of the compounds were assessed in anesthetized Wistar rats according to the established Koss method. Among twenty imidazol(in)e derivatives studied, 18 produced diverse dose-dependent mydriatic effects. In the quantitative structure–activity relationships (QSAR) analysis, the pharmacological data (half maximum mydriatic effect – ED50 in μmol/kg) were considered along with the structural parameters of the agents from molecular modeling. The theoretically calculated lipophilicity parameters, CLOGP, of imidazol(in)es, as well as their lipophilicity parameters from HPLC, log kw, were also considered. The attempts to derive statistically significant QSAR equations for a full series of the agents under study were unsuccessful. However, for a subgroup of eight apparently structurally related imidazol(in)es a significant relationship between log(1/ED50) and log kw values was obtained. The lack of “predictive” QSAR for the whole series of the structurally diverse agents is probably due to a complex mechanism of the ligand–alpha2-adrenergic receptor interactions, which are predominantly of a highly structurally specific polar nature. Such interactions are difficult to quantify with the established chemical structural descriptors, contrary to the less specific, molecular bulkiness-related interactions.