Matcha Green Tea Exhibits Bactericidal Activity against Streptococcus pneumoniae and Inhibits Functional Pneumolysin

Antibiotics (Basel). 2021 Dec 17;10(12):1550. doi: 10.3390/antibiotics10121550.


Streptococcus pneumoniae is a causative pathogen of several human infectious diseases including community-acquired pneumonia. Pneumolysin (PLY), a pore-forming toxin, plays an important role in the pathogenesis of pneumococcal pneumonia. In recent years, the use of traditional natural substances for prevention has drawn attention because of the increasing antibacterial drug resistance of S. pneumoniae. According to some studies, green tea exhibits antibacterial and antitoxin activities. The polyphenols, namely the catechins epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), epigallocatechin (EGC), epicatechin gallate (ECG), and epicatechin (EC) are largely responsible for these activities. Although matcha green tea provides more polyphenols than green tea infusions, its relationship with pneumococcal pneumonia remains unclear. In this study, we found that treatment with 20 mg/mL matcha supernatant exhibited significant antibacterial activity against S. pneumoniae regardless of antimicrobial resistance. In addition, the matcha supernatant suppressed PLY-mediated hemolysis and cytolysis by inhibiting PLY oligomerization. Moreover, the matcha supernatant and catechins inhibited PLY-mediated neutrophil death and the release of neutrophil elastase. These findings suggest that matcha green tea reduces the virulence of S. pneumoniae in vitro and may be a promising agent for the treatment of pneumococcal infections.

Keywords: Streptococcus pneumoniae; antibacterial resistance; catechin; epicatechin; epicatechin gallate; epigallocatechin; epigallocatechin gallate; matcha green tea; pneumolysin.