Effects of quercetin on the sleep-wake cycle in rats: involvement of gamma-aminobutyric acid receptor type A in regulation of rapid eye movement sleep

Brain Res. 2010 May 12;1330:83-8. doi: 10.1016/j.brainres.2010.03.033. Epub 2010 Mar 18.


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.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bicuculline / administration & dosage
  • Bicuculline / pharmacology
  • Central Nervous System Agents / administration & dosage
  • Central Nervous System Agents / pharmacology*
  • Circadian Rhythm / drug effects*
  • Circadian Rhythm / physiology
  • Darkness
  • GABA Antagonists / administration & dosage
  • GABA Antagonists / pharmacology
  • GABA-A Receptor Antagonists
  • Injections, Intraperitoneal
  • Injections, Intraventricular
  • Male
  • Photoperiod
  • Quercetin / administration & dosage
  • Quercetin / pharmacology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Receptors, GABA-A / metabolism*
  • Sleep / drug effects*
  • Sleep / physiology
  • Sleep, REM / drug effects*
  • Sleep, REM / physiology
  • Wakefulness / drug effects
  • Wakefulness / physiology


  • Central Nervous System Agents
  • GABA Antagonists
  • GABA-A Receptor Antagonists
  • Receptors, GABA-A
  • Quercetin
  • Bicuculline