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Eur J Oral Sci. 2012 Apr;120(2):132-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0722.2012.00947.x. Epub 2012 Feb 11.

The green tea polyphenol (-)-epigallocatechin gallate precipitates salivary proteins including alpha-amylase: biochemical implications for oral health.

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Department of Oral Health Sciences, Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Hiroshima University, Minamiku, Hiroshima, Japan.


Green tea is a popular drink throughout the world, and it contains various components, including the green tea polyphenol (-)-epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). Tea interacts with saliva upon entering the mouth, so the interaction between saliva and EGCG interested us, especially with respect to EGCG-protein binding. SDS-PAGE revealed that several salivary proteins were precipitated after adding EGCG to saliva. Matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) peptide mass fingerprinting indicated that the major proteins precipitated by EGCG were alpha-amylase, S100, and cystatins. Surface plasmon resonance revealed that EGCG bound to alpha-amylase at dissociation constant (K(d)) = 2.74 × 10(-6) M, suggesting that EGCG interacts with salivary proteins with a relatively strong affinity. In addition, EGCG inhibited the activity of alpha-amylase by non-competitive inhibition, indicating that EGCG is effective at inhibiting the formation of fermentable carbohydrates involved in caries formation. Interestingly, alpha-amylase reduced the antimicrobial activity of EGCG against the periodontal bacterium Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans. Therefore, we considered that EGCG-salivary protein interactions might have both protective and detrimental effects with respect to oral health.

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