Xanthine derivatives with several functional groups at the 1- or 7-position were synthesized, and their pharmacological activities in guinea pigs were studied. In general, the in vitro tracheal relaxant action and positive chronotropic action of 3-propylxanthines were increased by substitutions with nonpolar functional groups at the 1-position, but decreased by any substitution at the 7-position. On the other hand, because positive chronotropic actions of substituents with allyl, aminoalkyl, alkoxyalkyl, and normal alkyl groups were much less than tracheal muscle became very high with substitutions of 3'-butenyl, (dimethylamino)ethyl, 2'-ethoxyethyl, 3'-methoxypropyl, and n-propyl groups at the 1-position and of 2'-ethoxyethyl, 2'-oxopropyl, and n-propyl groups at the 7-position, compared with theophylline and the corresponding unsubstituted xanthines, 3-propylxanthine and 1-methyl-3-propylxanthine. When compounds were intraduodenally administered to the guinea pig, 1-(2'-ethoxyethyl)-, 1-(3'-methoxypropyl)-, 1-(3'-butenyl)-, and 1-[(dimethylamino)-ethyl]-3-propylxanthines, 1-methyl-7-(2'-oxopropyl)-3-propylxanthine, and denbufylline (1,3-di-n-butyl-7-(2'-oxopropyl)xanthine) effectively inhibited the acetylcholine-induced bronchospasm without heart stimulation or central nervous system-stimulation at the effective dosage range. Particularly, the bronchodilatory effect of 1-(2'-ethoxyethyl)-3-propylxanthine was much stronger and more continuous than those of theophylline and pentoxifylline. On the other hand, there were certain relationships among the in vitro tracheal relaxant activities of these compounds, their affinities for adenosine (A1) receptors in the brain membrane, and their inhibition of cyclic AMP-phosphodiesterase (PDE) in the tracheal muscle. The affinity for A2 receptors of these compounds was very low or negligible. This suggests that both the action on A1 receptors or interaction with adenosine and the cyclic AMP-PDE inhibitory activity contribute to the bronchodilator action of 1- and 7-substituted xanthines. This study indicates that the substitutions with none or low polar functional groups at the 1-position could improve the selectivity and duration of the bronchodilator effects of xanthines.