Green tea polyphenols change the profile of inflammatory cytokine release from lymphocytes of obese and lean rats and protect against oxidative damage

Int Immunopharmacol. 2015 Oct;28(2):985-96. doi: 10.1016/j.intimp.2015.08.011. Epub 2015 Aug 20.


This study aimed to investigate whether green tea polyphenols (GT) modulate some functional parameters of lymphocytes from obese rats. Male Wistar rats were treated with GT by gavage (12 weeks/5 days/week; 500 mg/kg of body weight) and obesity was induced by cafeteria diet (8 weeks). Lymphocytes were obtained from mesenteric lymph nodes for analyses. In response to the cafeteria diet we observed an increase in activity of the metabolic enzyme hexokinase, ROS production, MnSOD, CuZnSOD and GR enzyme activities and proliferation capacity of the cells (baseline), whereas IL-10 production was decreased. Obese rats treated with GT decreased cell proliferation (under ConA stimulation). Hexokinase and G6PDH activity, ROS production and MnSOD, CuZnSOD, GPx and GR enzymes remained increased, accompanied by an increase in Nrf2 mRNA level. There was a decrease in pro-inflammatory IL-2, IL-6, IL-1β, TNF-α cytokines that were accompanied by a decrease in the mRNA level of TRL4 while IL-10 production was increased in obese rats treated with GT. GT treatment of lean rats showed similar results to that of obese rats treated with GT, indicating that the effects of GT are independent of diet. Foxp3 and IRF4 mRNA levels were increased by GT. In conclusion, cafeteria diet modulated the function of lymphocytes from lymph nodes, increasing ROS production and decreasing anti-inflammatory IL-10, which could contribute to the inflammatory state in obesity. GT reduced ROS production, improving the redox status and reducing pro-inflammatory cytokine production by lymphocytes, suggesting that GT treatment may be driving lymphocytes to a more anti-inflammatory than pro-inflammatory microenvironment.

Keywords: Catechins; Immune system; Inflammation; Obesity; Oxidative stress.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Therapy
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cellular Microenvironment / drug effects
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Immunologic Factors / administration & dosage*
  • Inflammation Mediators / metabolism
  • Lymphocytes / drug effects*
  • Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Male
  • Obesity / drug therapy*
  • Oxidation-Reduction / drug effects
  • Polyphenols / administration & dosage*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Tea*


  • Cytokines
  • Immunologic Factors
  • Inflammation Mediators
  • Polyphenols
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Tea