Effect of benzyl isothiocyanate on spontaneous and induced force of rat uterine contraction

Pharmacol Res. 2004 May;49(5):415-22. doi: 10.1016/j.phrs.2003.10.011.


The present study examines the effect of benzyl isothiocyanate (BITC) on uterine contraction in vitro. BITC (10-320 microM) caused irreversible, concentration-dependent inhibition of the spontaneous, prostaglandin F(2alpha) (PGF(2alpha)) and oxytocin-induced force of gravid and non-gravid rat uterine contractions in contrast to equivalent concentrations of DMSO (solvent control). At 160 microM of BITC, spontaneous, PGF(2alpha) and oxytocin-induced force of gravid rat myometrial contractions were reduced to 16 +/- 6%, 15 +/- 7 % and 17 +/- 4% (of the control contractions), respectively. Moreover, at 320 microM of BITC, spontaneous, PGF(2alpha) and oxytocin-induced force of non-gravid rat uterine contractions were reduced to 10+/-5 %, 4+/-1 % and 7+/-2 % (of the control contractions), respectively. Incubation of isolated non-gravid rat uterine strips in Ringer Locke solution containing 100 microM of BITC for 1h prior to recording their activity also caused significant and irreversible depression of KCl (60mM)-induced tension development in the uterus relative to the solvent control (P < 0.01). In 56% of BITC-pretreated uterine tissues, spontaneous contractions were totally abolished. Cryosections of BITC-treated uterus (hematoxyline and eosin stained) examined under light microscope revealed structural disintegrity with marked vacuolar degeneration of the endometrium and myometrium. It thus appears that like the vascular smooth muscle (reported by previous workers), BITC is also capable of causing functional aberration of isolated uterus by provoking degeneration of the myometrium.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Dimethyl Sulfoxide / pharmacology
  • Dinoprost / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Dinoprost / pharmacology
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Female
  • Isothiocyanates / adverse effects*
  • Isothiocyanates / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Isothiocyanates / chemistry
  • Male
  • Muscle, Smooth / drug effects
  • Myometrium / cytology
  • Myometrium / drug effects
  • Myometrium / ultrastructure
  • Oxytocin / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Oxytocin / pharmacology
  • Potassium Chloride / pharmacology
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy, Animal
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Uterine Contraction / drug effects*
  • Uterine Contraction / physiology*


  • Isothiocyanates
  • Oxytocin
  • Potassium Chloride
  • benzyl isothiocyanate
  • Dinoprost
  • Dimethyl Sulfoxide