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PLoS One. 2017 Jan 19;12(1):e0169630. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0169630. eCollection 2017.

The Green Tea Catechin Epigallocatechin Gallate Ameliorates Graft-versus-Host Disease.

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Department of Hematology, Oncology and Tumorimmunology, Charit├ę Campus Virchow, Berlin, Germany.


Allogeneic hematopoetic stem cell transplantation (allo-HSCT) is a standard treatment for leukemia and other hematologic malignancies. The major complication of allo-HSCT is graft-versus-host-disease (GVHD), a progressive inflammatory illness characterized by donor immune cells attacking the organs of the recipient. Current GVHD prevention and treatment strategies use immune suppressive drugs and/or anti-T cell reagents these can lead to increased risk of infections and tumor relapse. Recent research demonstrated that epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), a component found in green tea leaves at a level of 25-35% at dry weight, may be useful in the inhibition of GVHD due to its immune modulatory, anti-oxidative and anti-angiogenic capacities. In murine allo-HSCT recipients treated with EGCG, we found significantly reduced GVHD scores, reduced target organ GVHD and improved survival. EGCG treated allo-HSCT recipients had significantly higher numbers of regulatory T cells in GVHD target organs and in the blood. Furthermore, EGCG treatment resulted in diminished oxidative stress indicated by significant changes of glutathione blood levels as well as glutathione peroxidase in the colon. In summary, our study provides novel evidence demonstrating that EGCG ameliorates lethal GVHD and reduces GVHD-related target organ damage. Possible mechanisms are increased regulatory T cell numbers and reduced oxidative stress.

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