Send to

Choose Destination
J Immunotoxicol. 2008 Jan;5(1):69-80. doi: 10.1080/15476910802019029.

Green tea attenuates benzene-induced oxidative stress in pump workers.

Author information

Department of Forensic Medicine and Clinical Toxicology, Faculty of Medicine, Tanta University, Tanta, Egypt.


Workers exposed to benzene frequently suffer from toxicities of the bone marrow as well as the central nervous, immune, and reproductive systems. This toxicity most likely is a result of the oxidative metabolism of benzene to reactive products. As green tea possesses antioxidant effects, the objective of this study was to examine any amelioration of benzene-induced oxidative stress in pump workers drinking 6 cups (150 ml/cup) of freshly prepared tea daily. Sixty male non-smoking subjects, divided into four groups: no benzene exposure/no green tea; no exposure/tea; exposure/no tea; and, exposure/tea, were monitored after a 6 mo period. On the final day of the study, urine samples were collected for analyses of benzene, trans-trans muconic acid, and phenol. Blood was also collected at this time; plasma was assayed for total antioxidant activity, malondialdehyde (MDA), and glutathione (GSH) while erythrocytes were analyzed for activity of antioxidant enzymes glutathione peroxidase (GSHPX), superoxide dismutase (SOD), and catalase. The results demonstrated that urinary levels of benzene, trans-trans muconic acid, and phenol were elevated in all pump workers, and that this elevation was mitigated by consumption of green tea. The benzene exposures also led to significant reductions in plasma GSH levels and erythrocyte antioxidant enzyme activities; these effects were abrogated (to near-control levels) by the tea. Interestingly, among control subjects, tea ingestion itself caused significant increases in both GSHPX and catalase activities. Unlike with the other plasma parameters, while the benzene exposures also significantly increased plasma MDA levels and decreased total antioxidant activity, tea ingestion did not cause a near-total reversion to control values; the effects on these two endpoints were more like those noted with the urine parameters (mitigation, not abrogation). These studies demonstrate that drinking green tea during benzene exposure can reduce several parameters indicative of oxidative stress. As such, as a dietary supplement, green tea could represent a potential therapeutic agent in reducing certain aspects of benzene-induced toxicity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Taylor & Francis
Loading ...
Support Center