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J Nutr. 2010 Aug;140(8):1509-15. doi: 10.3945/jn.110.124743. Epub 2010 Jun 9.

Epigallocatechin-3-gallate directly suppresses T cell proliferation through impaired IL-2 utilization and cell cycle progression.

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Nutritional Immunology Laboratory, Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, Boston, MA 02111, USA.


Previously, we demonstrated that in vitro epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) supplementation inhibited T cell response in mouse spleen cells. In this study, we confirmed this effect of EGCG in mice fed 0.3% EGCG for 6 wk. A coculture with all the combinations of preincubating antigen-presenting cells and T cells with or without EGCG showed that EGCG suppressed antigen-induced T cell proliferation, mainly through a direct effect on T cells. To determine the mechanisms for this effect of EGCG, we stimulated purified mouse T cells with anti-CD3/CD28 in the presence of EGCG (2.5-15 micromol/L) and found that EGCG dose-dependently inhibited cell division and cell cycle progression and this effect of EGCG was more pronounced in CD4(+) than in CD8(+) T cells. Interleukin (IL)-2 concentrations in EGCG-treated cell cultures showed no difference up to 24 h but were higher in the cultures at 48 h compared with the untreated control cells. However, intracellular staining showed no difference between EGCG-treated and untreated control cells in IL-2 synthesis, but EGCG-treated cells expressed less IL-2 receptor (IL-2R) compared with untreated control cells. EGCG did not affect mRNA expression of IL-2 and IL-2R. These results indicate that EGCG-induced IL-2 accumulation in 48 h cultures is due to its reduced utilization. In summary, EGCG directly inhibits T cell proliferative response to both polyclonal and antigen-specific stimulation. CD4(+) cells are more responsive to EGCG than CD8(+) cells. Future studies should determine the effect of EGCG on CD4(+) cell subsets to assess its application in T cell-mediated autoimmune diseases.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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