It is known that phytochemicals have many potential health benefits in humans. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of long-term consumption of the phytochemical, epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), on body growth, disease protection, and lifespan in healthy rats. 68 male weaning Wistar rats were randomly divided into the control and EGCG groups. Variables influencing lifespan such as blood pressure, serum glucose and lipids, inflammation, and oxidative stress were dynamically determined from weaning to death. The median lifespan of controls was 92.5 weeks. EGCG increased median lifespan to 105.0 weeks and delayed death by approximately 8-12 weeks. Blood pressure and serum glucose and lipids significantly increased with age in both groups compared with the levels at 0 week. However, there were no differences in these variables between the two groups during the whole lifespan. Inflammation and oxidative stress significantly increased with age in both groups compared with 0 week and were significantly lower in serum and liver and kidney tissues in the EGCG group. Damage to liver and kidney function was significantly alleviated in the EGCG group. In addition, EGCG decreased the mRNA and protein expressions of transcription factor NF-κB and increased the upstream protein expressions of silent mating type information regulation two homolog one (SIRT1) and forkhead box class O 3a (FOXO3a). In conclusion, EGCG extends lifespan in healthy rats by reducing liver and kidney damage and improving age-associated inflammation and oxidative stress through the inhibition of NF-κB signaling by activating the longevity factors FoxO3a and SIRT1.
Keywords: EGCG; Phytochemicals; inflammation and oxidative stress; lifespan; liver and kidney.
© 2013 the Anatomical Society and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.