Journal Article

Green tea polyphenol (–)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate treatment of human skin inhibits ultraviolet radiation-induced oxidative stress

Santosh K. Katiyar, Farrukh Afaq, Anaibelith Perez and Hasan Mukhtar

in Carcinogenesis

Volume 22, issue 2, pages 287-294
Published in print February 2001 | ISSN: 0143-3334
Published online February 2001 | e-ISSN: 1460-2180 | DOI:
Green tea polyphenol (–)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate treatment of human skin inhibits ultraviolet radiation-induced oxidative stress

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The use of naturally occurring botanicals with substantial antioxidant activity to afford protection to human skin against UV damage is receiving increasing attention. The green tea constituent (–)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) is a potent antioxidant and has shown remarkable preventive effects against photocarcinogenesis and phototoxicity in mouse models. In this study we have investigated the effects of topical application of EGCG, the major polyphenol present in green tea, to human skin before UV irradiation on UV-induced markers of oxidative stress and antioxidant enzymes. Using immunohistochemistry and analytical enzyme assays, we found that application of EGCG (mg/cm2 skin) before a single UV exposure of 4× minimal erythema dose (MED) markedly decreases UV-induced production of hydrogen peroxide (68–90%, P < 0.025–0.005) and nitric oxide (30–100%, P < 0.025–0.005) in both epidermis and dermis in a time-dependent manner. EGCG pretreatment also inhibits UV-induced infiltration of inflammatory leukocytes, particularly CD11b+ cells (a surface marker of monocytes/macrophages and neutrophils), into the skin, which are considered to be the major producers of reactive oxygen species. EGCG treatment was also found to inhibit UV-induced epidermal lipid peroxidation at each time point studied (41–84%, P < 0.05). A single UV exposure of 4× MED to human skin was found to increase catalase activity (109–145%) and decrease glutathione peroxidase (GPx) activity (36–54%) and total glutathione (GSH) level (13–36%) at different time points studied. Pretreatment with EGCG was found to restore the UV-induced decrease in GSH level and afforded protection to the antioxidant enzyme GPx. Further studies are warranted to study the preventive effects of EGCG against multiple exposures to UV light of human skin.

Keywords: DAB, diaminobenzidine; DHR, dihydrorhodamine 123; EGCG, (–)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate; GPx, glutathione peroxidase; GSH, reduced glutathione; GSSG, oxidized glutathione; GTP, green tea polyphenols; LPO, lipid peroxidation; MDA, malondialdehyde; MED, minimal erythema dose; PBS, phosphate-buffered saline; ROS, reactive oxygen species.

Journal Article.  6814 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Clinical Cytogenetics and Molecular Genetics

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