Objective: Tea has been around for centuries, and its medicinal properties have been purported in the literature but never fully confirmed. Interleukin-8 is a principle neutrophil chemoattractant and activator in humans. We determined the effects of theaflavin, a black tea-derived polyphenol, on tumor necrosis factor-alpha-mediated expression of the interleukin-8 gene in A549 cells.
Design: Prospective laboratory study.
Setting: University laboratory.
Subjects: A549 cells.
Interventions: A549 cells were exposed to varying concentrations of theaflavin and analyzed for tumor necrosis factor-alpha-mediated interleukin-8 gene expression.
Measurements and main results: Theaflavin inhibited tumor necrosis factor-alpha-mediated interleukin-8 gene expression, as measured by luciferase assay and Northern blot analysis, at concentrations of 10 and 30 microg/mL. This effect appears to primarily involve inhibition of interleukin-8 transcription because theaflavin inhibited tumor necrosis factor-alpha-mediated activation of the interleukin-8 promoter in cells transiently transfected with an interleukin-8 promoter-luciferase reporter plasmid. In addition, theaflavin inhibited tumor necrosis factor-alpha-mediated activation of IkappaB kinase and subsequent activation of the IkappaB-alpha/nuclear factor-kappaB pathway. Theaflavin also significantly reduced tumor necrosis factor-alpha-mediated DNA binding of activator protein-1.
Conclusions: We conclude that theaflavin is a potent inhibitor of interleukin-8 gene expression in vitro. The proximal mechanism of this effect involves, in part, inhibition of IkappaB kinase activation and activator protein-1 pathway.