In this study, we aimed to evaluate in vitro the inhibitory activity of a green tea extract (AR25 standardized at 25% catechins) on gastric and pancreatic lipase activities. We first used tributyrin as a substrate to evaluate the capability of AR25 to induce digestive lipase inhibition. Gastric lipase was totally inhibited by 40 mg AR25/g tributyrin whereas pancreatic lipase inhibition was maximum (78.8 +/- 0.7%) with 80 mg AR25/g tributyrin. We then used triolein, a long-chain triglyceride, to check whether AR25 could alter lipase activities on a physiologic substrate. AR25 60 mg/g triolein induced a dramatic inhibition of gastric lipase (96.8 +/- 0.4%) whereas pancreatic lipase activity was partially reduced (66.50 +/- 0.92%). Finally, the concerted action of gastric and pancreatic lipases was studied with an excess of enzymes to mimic the physiologic conditions observed in vivo. Incubation of AR25 with an excess of digestive lipases resulted in a drastic decrease in gastric lipolysis but the inhibitory effect on pancreatic lipase was less marked. On the whole, as compared to the control, lipolysis of triolein under the successive action of the two digestive lipases was reduced by 37 +/- 0.6% in the presence of AR25. Because a lipid/water interface is necessary for lipolysis to occur, lipid emulsification and emulsion droplet size were measured in gastric and duodenal media in the presence of AR25. In gastric and duodenal conditions, AR25 inhibited the lipid emulsification process. From these data we conclude that (1) in vitro, fat digestion is significantly inhibited by 60 mg AR25/g triolein, and (2) gastric as well as pancreatic lipase inhibition could be related to altered lipid emulsification in gastric or duodenal media. The green tea extract AR25 exhibiting marked inhibition of digestive lipases in vitro is likely to reduce fat digestion in humans.