Acute vascular and metabolic actions of the green tea polyphenol epigallocatechin 3-gallate in rat skeletal muscle

J Nutr Biochem. 2017 Feb;40:23-31. doi: 10.1016/j.jnutbio.2016.10.005. Epub 2016 Oct 14.


Epidemiological studies show a dose-dependent relationship between green tea consumption and reduced risk for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Bioactive compounds in green tea including the polyphenol epigallocatechin 3-gallate (EGCG) have insulin-mimetic actions on glucose metabolism and vascular function in isolated cell culture studies. The aim of this study is to explore acute vascular and metabolic actions of EGCG in skeletal muscle of Sprague-Dawley rats. Direct vascular and metabolic actions of EGCG were investigated using surgically isolated constant-flow perfused rat hindlimbs. EGCG infused at 0.1, 1, 10 and 100 μM in 15 min step-wise increments caused dose-dependent vasodilation in 5-hydroxytryptamine pre-constricted hindlimbs. This response was not impaired by the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) inhibitor wortmannin or the AMP-kinase inhibitor Compound C. The nitric oxide synthase (NOS) inhibitor NG-Nitro-l-Arginine Methyl Ester (L-NAME) completely blocked EGCG-mediated vasodilation at 0.1-10 μM, but not at 100 μM. EGCG at 10 μM did not alter muscle glucose uptake nor did it augment insulin-stimulated muscle glucose uptake. The acute metabolic and vascular actions of 10 μM EGCG in vivo were investigated in anaesthetised rats during a hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamp (10 mU min-1 kg-1 insulin). EGCG and insulin both stimulated comparable increases in muscle microvascular blood flow without an additive effect. EGCG-mediated microvascular action occurred without altering whole body or muscle glucose uptake. We concluded that EGCG has direct NOS-dependent vasodilator actions in skeletal muscle that do not acutely alter muscle glucose uptake or enhance the vascular and metabolic actions of insulin in healthy rats.

Keywords: Endothelium; Epigallocatechin 3-gallate; Green tea; Metabolism; Microvascular; Skeletal muscle.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Catechin / administration & dosage
  • Catechin / analogs & derivatives*
  • Catechin / pharmacology
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Glucose / metabolism
  • Hindlimb / blood supply
  • Hindlimb / drug effects
  • Insulin / pharmacology
  • Male
  • Muscle, Skeletal / blood supply
  • Muscle, Skeletal / drug effects*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism*
  • NG-Nitroarginine Methyl Ester / pharmacology
  • Organ Culture Techniques
  • Perfusion
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt / metabolism
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Serotonin / pharmacology
  • Vasodilation / drug effects


  • Insulin
  • Serotonin
  • Catechin
  • epigallocatechin gallate
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt
  • Glucose
  • NG-Nitroarginine Methyl Ester