Anti-inflammatory activity of green versus black tea aqueous extract in a rat model of human rheumatoid arthritis

Int J Rheum Dis. 2017 Feb;20(2):203-213. doi: 10.1111/1756-185X.12666. Epub 2015 May 12.


Aim: Recently, there has been an increasing interest in tea (Camellia sinensis) as a protective agent against inflammatory diseases. Here, we evaluated/compared the anti-inflammatory activity of two different doses (0.5 and 1.0 g/kg body weight) of green tea aqueous extract (GTE, rich in catechins) and black tea aqueous extract (BTE, rich in theaflavins and thearubigins) in rat adjuvant-induced arthritis (AIA).

Methods: Adjuvant-induced arthritis rat model received orally/daily distilled water as vehicle, indomethacin (1.0 mg/kg body weight; a non-steroidal/anti-inflammatory drug), or tea aqueous extracts (for 28 or 14 consecutive days starting from day 0 or 14 of arthritis induction, respectively).

Results: The present study showed that only the high dose of GTE (from day 0) significantly alleviated (P < 0.05-0.001) all complications shown in arthritic rats, including synovial joint inflammation, elevation in erythrocyte sedimentation rate, blood leukocytosis (due to lymphocytosis and neutrocytosis), and changes in weight/cellularity of lymphoid organs. The anti-arthritic activity of the high dose of GTE (from day 0) was comparable (P > 0.05) with that of indomethacin (12.9-53.8 vs. 9.5-48.4%, respectively) and mediated by significantly decreasing and down-regulating (P < 0.001) the systemic production of pro-inflammatory cytokines and the expression of chemokine receptor-5 in synovial tissues, respectively. Moreover, the anti-arthritic activity of tea aqueous extracts was in the following order: high dose of GTE > low dose of GTE ≥ high dose of BTE > low dose of BTE.

Conclusion: The present study proved the anti-inflammatory activity of GTE over BTE and equal to that of indomethacin in AIA rat model.

Keywords: CCR5 and pro-inflammatory cytokines; anti-inflammatory activity; green and black tea; indomethacin; rat adjuvant-induced arthritis.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / pharmacology
  • Antirheumatic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Arthritis, Experimental / blood
  • Arthritis, Experimental / chemically induced
  • Arthritis, Experimental / immunology
  • Arthritis, Experimental / prevention & control*
  • Blood Sedimentation
  • Camellia sinensis*
  • Cytokines / blood
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Edema / chemically induced
  • Edema / prevention & control
  • Freund's Adjuvant
  • Indomethacin / pharmacology
  • Inflammation Mediators / blood
  • Joints / drug effects*
  • Joints / immunology
  • Joints / metabolism
  • Male
  • Phytotherapy
  • Plants, Medicinal
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Receptors, CCR5 / metabolism
  • Synovial Membrane / drug effects
  • Synovial Membrane / immunology
  • Synovial Membrane / metabolism
  • Tea*
  • Time Factors


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Antirheumatic Agents
  • Cytokines
  • Inflammation Mediators
  • Receptors, CCR5
  • Tea
  • Freund's Adjuvant
  • Indomethacin