Matcha tea powder is believed to have various physiological benefits; however, its detailed mechanism of action has been poorly understood. Here, we investigated whether the mental state of mice, due to social isolation stress, affects the antidepressant-like effect of Matcha tea powder by using the tail suspension test. Oral administration of Matcha tea powder reduced the duration of immobility in the stress-susceptible C57BL/6J strain, but not in BALB/c strain. In C57BL/6J mice, SCH23390, a dopamine D1 receptor blocker, prevented Matcha tea powder from exerting its antidepressant-like effect. Matcha tea powder also increased the number of c-Fos-positive cells in the prefrontal cortex (PFC) region and the nucleus accumbens (NAc) region in C57BL/6J mice, but not in BALB/c mice. In contrast, Matcha tea powder did not change the number of c-Fos-positive cells in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) region. Notably, C57BL/6J mice with a shorter immobility time had a higher number of c-Fos-positive cells in the PFC, NAc, and VTA regions. However, no such correlation was observed in the stress-tolerant BALB/c mice. These results suggest that Matcha tea powder exerts an antidepressant-like effect through the activation of the dopaminergic system including the PFC-NAc-VTA circuit and that mental states are important factors affecting the physiological benefits of Matcha tea powder.
Keywords: BALB/c; C57BL/6J; Matcha; depression; dopaminergic circuit.