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Histochem Cell Biol. 2008 Apr;129(4):489-501. doi: 10.1007/s00418-008-0390-2. Epub 2008 Feb 9.

Subcutaneous injection, from birth, of epigallocatechin-3-gallate, a component of green tea, limits the onset of muscular dystrophy in mdx mice: a quantitative histological, immunohistochemical and electrophysiological study.

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Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Anatomy, Institute of Health Biosciences, The University of Tokushima Graduate School, Tokushima 770-8504, Japan.


Dystrophic muscles suffer from enhanced oxidative stress. We have investigated whether administration of an antioxidant, epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), a component of green tea, reduces their oxidative stress and pathophysiology in mdx mice, a mild phenotype model of human Duchenne-type muscular dystrophy. EGCG (5 mg/kg body weight in saline) was injected subcutaneously 4x a week into the backs of C57 normal and dystrophin-deficient mdx mice for 8 weeks after birth. Saline was injected into normal and mdx controls. EGCG had almost no observable effects on normal mice or on the body weights of mdx mice. In contrast, it produced the following improvements in the blood chemistry, muscle histology, and electrophysiology of the treated mdx mice. First, the activities of serum creatine kinase were reduced to normal levels. Second, the numbers of fluorescent lipofuscin granules per unit volume of soleus and diaphragm muscles were significantly decreased by about 50% compared to the numbers in the corresponding saline-treated controls. Third, in sections of diaphragm and soleus muscles, the relative area occupied by histologically normal muscle fibres increased significantly 1.5- to 2-fold whereas the relative areas of connective tissue and necrotic muscle fibres were substantially reduced. Fourth, the times for the maximum tetanic force of soleus muscles to fall by a half increased to almost normal values. Fifth, the amount of utrophin in diaphragm muscles increased significantly by 17%, partially compensating for the lack of dystrophin expression.

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