Journal Article

Uptake and distribution of catechins in fetal organs following <i>in utero</i> exposure in rats

K.O. Chu, C.C. Wang, C.Y. Chu, K.W. Choy, C.P. Pang and M.S. Rogers

in Human Reproduction

Published on behalf of European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology

Volume 22, issue 1, pages 280-287
ISSN: 0268-1161
Published online September 2006 | e-ISSN: 1460-2350 | DOI:
Uptake and distribution of catechins in fetal organs following in utero exposure in rats

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BACKGROUND: Although catechins are known to be powerful antioxidants, no reports have shown their transport to fetal organs. We investigated the distribution of catechins in fetal rat organs after maternal exposure to green tea extract (GTE). METHODS: GTE (550 mg/kg) or water was fed orally to pregnant dams at 15.5 days of gestation, the dams were sacrificed and fetal organs were dissected 0, 0.5, 1, 2, 3, 5, and 8 h later. Catechins and catechin gallates were determined by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) after solid-phase extraction. RESULTS: In the GTE-treated group, catechins were detected in most of the fetal organs studied, including the brain, eyes, heart, lungs, kidneys and liver but not in the control group. The first peak times (Tmax) were about 0.5–1 h. The maximum concentrations (Cmax) of catechins in the fetal eye were about 2–10 times higher than in the other organs, ranging from 249 pmol/g for epicatechin (EC) to 831 pmol/g for epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). Catechin gallates were generally more readily taken up by fetal organs than catechins. EGCG had the highest level of uptake according to area under the curve (AUC) plots and the highest Cmax in all organs. CONCLUSIONS: Various fetal organs had low but significant levels of catechins after GTE intake by the dams, and organ levels were found to be related to catechin structure. EGCG could be a potential candidate for antioxidant supplementation of the fetus in utero.

Keywords: antioxidant; catechins; distribution; fetal tissues; green tea

Journal Article.  6291 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Reproductive Medicine

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