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Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2007 May;292(5):E1378-87. Epub 2007 Jan 16.

EGCG, a green tea polyphenol, improves endothelial function and insulin sensitivity, reduces blood pressure, and protects against myocardial I/R injury in SHR.

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Departments of Pharmacology and Human Physiology, Medical School, University of Bari, 70124 Bari, Italy.


Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), a bioactive polyphenol in green tea, may augment metabolic and vascular actions of insulin. Therefore, we investigated effects of EGCG treatment to simultaneously improve cardiovascular and metabolic function in spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR; model of metabolic syndrome with hypertension, insulin resistance, and overweight). In acute studies, EGCG (1-100 microM) elicited dose-dependent vasodilation in mesenteric vascular beds (MVB) isolated from SHR ex vivo that was inhibitable by N(omega)-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester (L-NAME; nitric oxide synthase antagonist) or wortmannin [phosphatidylinositol (PI) 3-kinase inhibitor]. In chronic studies, 9-wk-old SHR were treated by gavage for 3 wk with EGCG (200, enalapril (30, or vehicle. A separate group of SHR receiving L-NAME (80 mg/l in drinking water) was treated for 3 wk with either EGCG or vehicle. Vasodilator actions of insulin were significantly improved in MVB from EGCG- or enalapril-treated SHR (when compared with vehicle-treated SHR). Both EGCG and enalapril therapy significantly lowered systolic blood pressure (SBP) in SHR. EGCG therapy of SHR significantly reduced infarct size and improved cardiac function in Langendorff-perfused hearts exposed to ischemia-reperfusion (I/R) injury. In SHR given L-NAME, beneficial effects of EGCG on SBP and I/R were not observed. Both enalapril and EGCG treatment of SHR improved insulin sensitivity and raised plasma adiponectin levels. We conclude that acute actions of EGCG to stimulate production of nitric oxide from endothelium using PI 3-kinase-dependent pathways may explain, in part, beneficial effects of EGCG therapy to simultaneously improve metabolic and cardiovascular pathophysiology in SHR. These findings may be relevant to understanding potential benefits of green tea consumption in patients with the metabolic syndrome.

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