There is increasing evidence that the generation of free radicals plays a role in the development of bladder dysfunction. Flavonoids are a group of polyphenolic compounds with broad pharmacological activity. In the present study, the protective effects of the flavonoid galangin on the progressive decrease of bladder smooth muscle contractile responses during repetitive field stimulation (RFS; a model for muscular fatigue) were demonstrated. Pig detrusor strips were mounted for tension recording in organ baths aand were subjected to RFS for 90 min at 32 Hz for 15 s every 5 min. The strips were then washed four times with fresh buffer and allowed a period of recovery for 90 min. The 90 min of RFS caused a progressive decrease in maximal contractile response to electrical field stimulation and to muscarinic agonist-induced contractions (34% and 46% decrease, respectively). Galangin (10(-7) M) prevented the decrease in contractile smooth muscle response of strips to electrical field stimulation during RFS compared with untreated tissues. The antioxidant activity of galangin was assessed by measuring its ability to inhibit the lipid peroxidation induced by iron and ascorbate in rat liver microsomes (IC50 1.7+0.12x10(-6) M). If the data are confirmed in-vivo, exogenously administered galangin may be a new approach in the prevention and/or treatment of bladder dysfunction.