Alzheimer's disease (AD), one of the main causes of aged dementia, is a progressive and degenerative neurological disorder characterized by loss of cognition and memory. Although the symptomatic treatment of AD, particularly acetylcholinesterase inhibitors (AChEIs) based on the 'cholinergic hypothesis', has been successful in clinic, at present there is no cure for this disease. In this study, we designed compounds carrying benzimidazole and triazole rings on the same chemical skeleton so as to investigate their potential acetylcholinesterase and butyrylcholinesterase activity. Furthermore, molecular modeling study was performed to determine the binding mode of the best inhibitor to the AChE. Among them, compounds 3d and 3h, which featured 3,4-dihydroxy substitution at the phenyl ring and 5(6)-chloro substitution at the benzimidazole ring were found to be potent inhibitors of AChE. The inhibition kinetics of the two most active derivatives 3d and 3h were further studied. The kinetic displayed increasing slope and increasing intercept, which is consistent with a mixed inhibition. The IC50 and K-i values of 3d are 31.9 +/- 0.1 nM and 26.2 nM, respectively. Compound 3h exhibited IC50 of 29.5 +/- 1.2 nM and K-i of 24.8 nM. The above data compared favorably with data for donepezil (21.8 +/- 0.9 nM) the reference compound in our study.