We have previously reported that extract of radish roots exhibits an increase in gastrointestinal motility through the activation of muscarinic acetylcholine (ACh) receptors. Based on the stimulatory activity-guided fractionation on rat ileal segments, this study isolated methylisogermabullone (MIGB, C23H31O5NS, MW 433) from methanol extracts of radish roots. MIGB caused a significant increase of the isolated rat ileal contraction in a concentration-dependent manner (23-693 microM), and the pattern of MIGB-induced ileal contraction was different in the time course to that produced by ACh. The EC50 value of MIGB, to produce 50% maximum ileal contraction, was estimated to be 45.5 microM. MIGB (230 microM)-induced ileal contractions were enhanced by pretreatment of segments with ACh (0.1 microM). Ileal contractions produced by MIGB (230 microM) or ACh (0.1 microM) at submaximal concentration were partially inhibited by pretreatment of hexamethonium (0.1 mM), a ganglionic blocker, whereas they were almost completely abolished by atropine (10 microM). Oral administration of MIGB to mice stimulated the small intestinal transit of charcoal in a dose-dependent manner (10-100 mg kg(-1)), and MIGB (100 mg kg(-1))-induced stimulation of small intestinal transit was significantly attenuated by co-administration of atropine (50 mg kg(-1)). Taken together, these results demonstrate that MIGB isolated from radish roots stimulates the small bowel motility through the activation of ACh receptors. These findings suggest that MIGB may become a potential regulatory agent for therapeutic intervention in dysfunction of gastrointestinal motility.