In pharmacology, biological activity or pharmacological activity describes the beneficial or adverse effects of a drug on living matter. When a drug is a complex chemical mixture, this activity is exerted by the substance's active ingredient or pharmacophore but can be modified by the other constituents. Among the various properties of chemical compounds, pharmacological/biological activity plays a crucial role since it suggests uses of the compounds in the medical applications. However, chemical compounds may show some adverse and toxic effects which may prevent their use in medical practice.
Activity is generally dosage-dependent. Further, it is common to have effects ranging from beneficial to adverse for one substance when going from low to high doses. Activity depends critically on fulfillment of the ADME criteria. To be an effective drug, a compound not only must be active against a target, but also possess the appropriate ADME (Absorption, Distribution, Metabolism, and Excretion) properties necessary to make it suitable for use as a drug.
Whereas a material is considered bioactive if it has interaction with or effect on any cell tissue in the human body, pharmacological activity is usually taken to describe beneficial effects, i.e. the effects of drug candidates as well as a substance's toxicity.
In the study of biomineralisation, bioactivity is often meant to mean the formation of calcium phosphate deposits on the surface of objects placed in simulated body fluid, a buffer solution with ion content similar to blood.
- Etymology: Gk, bios, life; L, activus, with energy, Mosby's Medical Dictionary, 8th edition. © 2009, Elsevier.
- Miller-Keane Encyclopedia & Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing, and Allied Health, Seventh Edition. © 2003 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier, Inc.
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