Inhibitory effects of green tea polyphenols on the production of a virulence factor of the periodontal-disease-causing anaerobic bacterium Porphyromonas gingivalis

J Agric Food Chem. 2004 Mar 24;52(6):1688-92. doi: 10.1021/jf0302815.


The effect of polyphenolic compounds isolated from green tea (Camellia sinensis) on the production of toxic end metabolites of Porphyromonas gingivalis was investigated. Green tea polyphenols completely inhibited the production of n-butyric acid and propionic acid at a concentration of 1.0-2.0 mg/mL in general anaerobic medium (GAM). (-)-Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCg), which is a major component of tea polyphenols also inhibited the production of phenylacetic acid at 0.5 mg/mL in GAM broth. In the experiment using resting cells of P. gingivalis, phenylacetic acid was produced from l-phenylalanine and phenylpyruvic acid, but this reaction was also inhibited by EGCg, (-)-epicatechin gallate, and (-)-gallocatechin gallate. However, (+)-catechin, (+)-gallocatechin, (-)-epicatechin, and (-)-epigallocatechin did not inhibit those reactions. These results indicate that the inhibitory effect on the production of toxic end metabolites of P. gingivalis can be attributed to the presence of the galloyl moiety, which is ester-linked with the 3-OH of the catechin moiety in the polyphenolic compounds. This study shows that continuous application of tea polyphenols on a daily basis can be considered as a useful and practical method for the prevention of periodontal diseases.

MeSH terms

  • Camellia sinensis / chemistry*
  • Catechin / analogs & derivatives*
  • Catechin / pharmacology
  • Fatty Acids / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Fatty Acids / biosynthesis
  • Flavonoids / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Periodontal Diseases / microbiology
  • Phenols / pharmacology*
  • Phenylacetates / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Phenylacetates / metabolism
  • Polyphenols
  • Porphyromonas gingivalis / drug effects*
  • Porphyromonas gingivalis / metabolism*


  • Fatty Acids
  • Flavonoids
  • Phenols
  • Phenylacetates
  • Polyphenols
  • Catechin
  • epigallocatechin gallate
  • phenylacetic acid