Tea catechins and other flavonoids have been shown to potentially protect against chronic cardiovascular diseases such as coronary heart disease and atherosclerosis. In this study, 6-month-old female Sprague-Dawley rats were fed green tea extract (50 mg/100 ml in drinking water) up to the age of 22 months, and the age-associated changes in Maillard-type fluorescence and carbonyl groups in the aortic and skin collagen were compared with those occurring in the water-fed control animals. Collagen-linked Maillard-type fluorescence was found to increase in both the aortic and skin tissues as animals aged. The age-associated increase in the fluorescence in the aortic collagen was remarkably inhibited by the green tea extract treatment, while that occurring in the skin collagen was not significantly inhibited by the treatment. The collagen carbonyl content also increased in both the aortic and skin tissues as animals aged. In contrast with the case of Maillard-type fluorescence, however, the age-associated increase in the carbonyl content was not inhibited by the green tea extract treatment either in the aortic or skin collagen. These results suggest that the inhibition of AGE formation in collagen is an important mechanism for the protective effects of tea catechins against cardiovascular diseases.
(c)2002 Elsevier Science.