Dysmenorrhea is one of the most prevalent disorders in gynecology. Historically, adlay (Coix lachryma-jobi L. var. Ma-yuen Stapf.) has been explored for its anti-tumor, pain relief, anti-inflammatory, and analgesic effects. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of adlay seeds on the inhibition of uterine contraction and thus dysmenorrhea relief, in vitro and in vivo. HPLC-MS and GC were used to elucidate the ethyl acetate fraction of adlay testa ethanolic extract (ATE-EA) and ethyl acetate fraction of adlay hull ethanolic extract (AHE-EA). Elucidation yielded flavonoids, phytosterols, and fatty acids. Uterine leiomyomas and normal adjacent myometrial tissue were evaluated by oxytocin-and PG-induced uterine contractility. ATE-EA and AHE-EA suppressed uterine contraction induced by prostaglandin F2 alpha (PGF2α), oxytocin, carbachol, and high-KCl solution ex vivo. In addition, the external calcium (Ca2+) influx induced contraction, and increased Ca2+ concentration was inhibited by ATE-EA and AHE-EA on the uterine smooth muscle of rats. Furthermore, ATE-EA and AHE-EA effectively attenuated the contraction of normal human myometrium tissues more than adjacent uterine leiomyoma in response to PGF2α. 3,5,6,7,8,3′,4′-Heptamethoxyflavone and chrysoeriol produced a remarkable inhibition with values of IC50 = 24.91 and 25.59 µM, respectively. The experimental results showed that treatment with ATE-EA at 30 mg/day effectively decreased the writhing frequency both on the oxytocin-induced writhing test and acetic acid writhing test of the ICR mouse.
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