OBJECTIVES To clarify the effect of saw palmetto extract (SPE), a phytotherapeutic agent, on urodynamic parameters, bladder muscarinic and purinergic receptors, and urinary cytokines in rats with cystitis induced by cyclophosphamide (CYP). METHODS Saw palmetto extract (60 mg/kg per day) was administered orally twice a day for 7 days to rats. The urodynamic parameters in CYP (150 mg/kg i.p.)-treated rats were monitored by a cystometric method under anesthesia. The muscarinic and purinergic receptors in the bladder and submaxillary gland were measured by radioreceptor assays using [N-methyl-(3) H] scopolamine chloride([(3) H]NMS) and αβ-methylene-ATP [2,8-(3) H] tetrasodium salt ([(3) H]αβ-MeATP), respectively. Urinary cytokines (interleukin-1β [IL-1β], IL-6 and L-17) were measured with enzyme linked immunosorbent assay kits. RESULTS Micturition interval and micturition volume were significantly decreased and the frequency of micturition and basal pressure were significantly increased in the CYP-treated rats compared with sham-operated rats. Orally administered SPE significantly increased the micturition interval and micturition volume and decreased the frequency of micturition and basal pressure. The maximal number of sites (Bmax ) for the specific binding of [(3) H]NMS and [(3) H]αβ-MeATP was significantly decreased in the bladder. The decrease in receptors was attenuated by repeated treatment with SPE. An elevation in urinary cytokine (IL-1β and IL-17) levels were seen, and this increase was effectively suppressed by SPE treatment. CONCLUSIONS Saw palmetto extract attenuates the alteration of urodynamic parameters, pharmacologically relevant receptors, and urinary cytokines in CYP-treated rats. Therefore, SPE may be a potential therapeutic agent for improving the clinical symptoms of cystitis.