Quercetin, a main flavonoid in onion, inhibits the PGF-induced uterine contraction in vitro and in vivo

Chi Hao Wu*, Tzong Ming Shieh, Kai Lee Wang, Tsui Chin Huang, Shih Min Hsia

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


Dysmenorrhoea is considered to be caused by excessive levels of prostaglandins, which stimulate abnormal uterine contractions. This study aimed to investigate the modulatory effects of quercetin that is a main flavonoid in onion on uterine contractility and its possible underlying mechanisms. In vitro and in vivo contractile activities of the uteri were determined using uterine horns isolated from adult rats. The results indicated that (1) for contractions induced by PGF-, oxytocin-, and carbachol, quercetin showed the most potent suppressing effect among the tested flavonoids; (2) Ca2+-dependent uterine contractions were inhibited by quercetin; (3) quercetin reduced the PGF-elicited Ca2+ responses in human uterine smooth muscle cells; (4) quercetin inhibited uterine contractions stimulated by Ca2+ channel activator and depolarisation in response to high K+; (5) quercetin was able to block Ca2+ influx through voltage-operated Ca2+ channels in plasma membrane; and (6) quercetin effectively reduced PGF-induced contractions through the administration of increasing doses of 10, 25, and 50 mg/kg in rats. The present findings suggest that onion's major active compound, quercetin, may be a potential adjuvant for treating uterine disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1300
Pages (from-to)495-504
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Functional Foods
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Dec
Externally publishedYes


  • Dysmenorrhoea
  • Flavonoids
  • Onion
  • PGF
  • Quercetin
  • Uterine contractions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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