Recently, several reports of clinical cases of QT prolongation and torsades de pointes, associated with the use of tacrolimus (FK506), have come to light. We have previously demonstrated FK506-induced QT prolongation in guinea pigs [Minematsu T., et al., Life Sci., 65, PL197-PL202 (1999)]. We now examined the relationship between QTc prolongation and the pharmacokinetics of FK506 in guinea pigs, in order to evaluate the arrhythmogenicity of FK506 when compared with that of quinidine sulfate (QND). Thus, dose-response relationships for FK506 (0.01 or 0.1 mg/h/kg) or QND (30 mg/h/kg) were investigated during and after intravenous infusion and also following intravenous bolus administration of FK506 (0.2 mg/kg). The dose-response relationship between plasma drug concentration and QTc prolongation for FK506 and QND were subsequently analyzed using an effect compartment model. The pharmacodynamic parameters thus obtained were as follows: kE0 2.72 x 10(-4) (min-1), Emax 27.1 (ms), EC50 0.376 (ng/ml) for FK506; and kE0 0.148 (min-1), K 8.41 (ms.ml/microgram) for QND. The anti-clockwise hysteresis observed for FK506-induced QT prolongation was successfully analyzed by the present pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic model, which may provide a rational basis for developing a clinical dosing regimen to avoid possible QT prolongation induced by FK506.