The bioflavonoid quercetin is widely found in plants and exerts a large number of biological activities such as anti-hypertensive and anti-inflammatory properties. However, the effect of quercetin on the sleep-wake cycle has not been investigated. In the present study, we investigated the effect of quercetin on sleep-wake regulation. Intraperitoneal administration of quercetin (200mg/kg) significantly increased non-rapid eye movement (non-REM) sleep during dark period in rats, while it significantly decreased REM sleep. The decrease in REM sleep induced by quercetin was blocked by intracerebroventricular (i.c.v.) injection of bicuculline, a GABA(A) receptor antagonist. In contrast, the increase in non-REM sleep induced by quercetin was not affected by i.c.v. injection of bicuculline. Therefore, the present results suggest that quercetin alters the sleep-wake cycle partly through activation of GABA(A) receptors.
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