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Crit Care Med. 2004 Oct;32(10):2097-103.

Theaflavin, a black tea extract, is a novel anti-inflammatory compound.

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Division of Critical Care Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, and Children's Hospital Research Foundation, Cincinnati, OH, USA.



Tea has been around for centuries, and its medicinal properties have been purported in the literature but never fully confirmed. Interleukin-8 is a principle neutrophil chemoattractant and activator in humans. We determined the effects of theaflavin, a black tea-derived polyphenol, on tumor necrosis factor-alpha-mediated expression of the interleukin-8 gene in A549 cells.


Prospective laboratory study.


University laboratory.


A549 cells.


A549 cells were exposed to varying concentrations of theaflavin and analyzed for tumor necrosis factor-alpha-mediated interleukin-8 gene expression.


Theaflavin inhibited tumor necrosis factor-alpha-mediated interleukin-8 gene expression, as measured by luciferase assay and Northern blot analysis, at concentrations of 10 and 30 microg/mL. This effect appears to primarily involve inhibition of interleukin-8 transcription because theaflavin inhibited tumor necrosis factor-alpha-mediated activation of the interleukin-8 promoter in cells transiently transfected with an interleukin-8 promoter-luciferase reporter plasmid. In addition, theaflavin inhibited tumor necrosis factor-alpha-mediated activation of IkappaB kinase and subsequent activation of the IkappaB-alpha/nuclear factor-kappaB pathway. Theaflavin also significantly reduced tumor necrosis factor-alpha-mediated DNA binding of activator protein-1.


We conclude that theaflavin is a potent inhibitor of interleukin-8 gene expression in vitro. The proximal mechanism of this effect involves, in part, inhibition of IkappaB kinase activation and activator protein-1 pathway.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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