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Food Chem Toxicol. 2006 Sep;44(9):1496-504. Epub 2006 Apr 28.

Sex- and strain-dependent effects of epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) and epicatechin gallate (ECG) in the mouse.

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Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Otago, 18 Frederick Street, Adams Building, Dunedin, New Zealand.


We have previously demonstrated that 50mg/kg of epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) is hepatotoxic to female Swiss Webster mice, while lower doses of EGCG and epicatechin gallate (ECG) modulate various cytochrome P450 (CYP) isoforms. Therefore, this study was designed to further investigate the role of strain and sex in catechin-mediated enzyme modulation and hepatotoxicity in mice. Male and female BALB/c and male Swiss Webster mice were treated with either ECG or EGCG (25 and 50 mg/kg, ip) for 7 days. The results demonstrated that EGCG (50 mg/kg) produced severe hepatic necrosis, elevated ALT activities and a 20% mortality rate in male Swiss Webster mice and mild hepatotoxicity in male BALB/c mice. In female BALB/c mice the mortality rate was 20%, which correlated with extensive hepatic necrosis. Of the two catechins, only ECG significantly inhibited CYP isoforms. Specifically, prostatic aromatase activity decreased by 31+/-2%, while CYP1A catalytic activity and polypeptide levels were decreased 29+/-6% and 25+/-4%, respectively. However, CYP2E1 and CYP3A activity remained unchanged following ECG administration. Additionally, EGCG did not alter aromatase, CYP1A, CYP3A or CYP2E1 in male Swiss Webster mice. In conclusion, EGCG (50 mg/kg) elicits mortality in both male and female Swiss Webster mice, as well as female BALB/c mice. ECG significantly inhibits both aromatase and CYP1A in male Swiss Webster mice. Therefore, sex-specific modulation of CYP isoforms occurs following administration of EGCG and ECG in Swiss Webster mice.

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