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Chem Res Toxicol. 1999 Apr;12(4):382-6.

Antioxidant chemistry of green tea catechins. Identification of products of the reaction of (-)-epigallocatechin gallate with peroxyl radicals.

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Department of Pharmacology & Toxicology, College of Pharmacy, The University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona 85721, USA.


(-)-Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), isolated from green tea, displays antioxidant properties and is thought to act as an antioxidant in biological systems. However, the specific mechanisms of its antioxidant actions remain unclear. In this study, we have isolated and identified for the first time two reaction products of EGCG derived from its reaction with peroxyl radicals generated by thermolysis of the initiator 2,2'-azobis(2,4-dimethylvaleronitrile) (AMVN). The products include a seven-membered B-ring anhydride and a novel dimer. The identification of these products provides the first unambiguous proof that the principal site of antioxidant reactions on the EGCG molecule is the trihydroxyphenyl B ring, rather than the 3-galloyl moiety. In contrast to phenoxyl radicals from simple phenolic antioxidants, an initially formed EGCG phenoxyl radical apparently does not form stable addition products with AMVN-derived peroxyl radicals. Characteristic reaction products may provide novel markers for EGCG antioxidant reactions in living systems.

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