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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2012 Jun 1;422(2):344-50. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2012.05.022. Epub 2012 May 11.

Protective effect of L-theanine on carbon tetrachloride-induced acute liver injury in mice.

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  • 1State Key Laboratory of Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, School of Life Sciences, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210093, PR China.


We studied effects of L-theanine, a unique amino acid in tea, on carbon tetrachloride (CCl(4))-induced liver injury in mice. The mice were pre-treated orally with L-theanine (50, 100 or 200 mg/kg) once daily for seven days before CCl(4) (10 ml/kg of 0.2% CCl(4) solution in olive oil) injection. L-theanine dose-dependently suppressed the increase of serum activity of ALT and AST and bilirubin level as well as liver histopathological changes induced by CCl(4) in mice. L-theanine significantly prevented CCl(4)-induced production of lipid peroxidation and decrease of hepatic GSH content and antioxidant enzymes activities. Our further studies demonstrated that L-theanine inhibited metabolic activation of CCl(4) through down-regulating cytochrome P450 2E1 (CYP2E1). As a consequence, L-theanine inhibited oxidative stress-mediated inflammatory response which included the increase of TNF-α and IL-1β in sera, and expression of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) and inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) in livers. CCl(4)-induced activation of apoptotic related proteins including caspase-3 and PARP in mouse livers was also prevented by L-theanine treatment. In summary, L-theanine protects mice against CCl(4)-induced acute liver injury through inhibiting metabolic activation of CCl(4) and preventing CCl(4)-induced reduction of anti-oxidant capacity in mouse livers to relieve inflammatory response and hepatocyte apoptosis.

Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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