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Food Nutr Res. 2017 Jun 1;61(1):1333390. doi: 10.1080/16546628.2017.1333390. eCollection 2017.

Protective effects of tea polyphenols on exhaustive exercise-induced fatigue, inflammation and tissue damage.

Liu L1,2,3, Wu X2, Zhang B1,3, Yang W2, Li D1,3, Dong Y1,3, Yin Y2, Chen Q1,3,4.

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Fujian Key Laboratory of Innate Immune Biology, Fuzhou, Fujian, China.
School of Physical Education and Sport Science, Fujian Normal University, Fuzhou, China.
Biomedical Research Center of South China, Fujian Normal University, Fuzhou, China.
College of Life Science, Fujian Normal University, Fuzhou, China.


Background: The beneficial properties of tea polyphenols have been extensively studied; however, less attention has been paid to their effects, especially anti-inflammatory effect during exhaustive exercise. Objective: The present study assessed the potential protective effects of tea polyphenols against the fatigue, inflammation and tissue injury caused by an exhaustive exercise bout in rats. Design: Twenty-four healthy male rats were divided into three groups. Group C was a sedentary control group, Groups E+TP and Group E performed a single exhaustive swimming test; all groups had normal diets, but Group E+TP was supplemented with tea polyphenols. All rats were immediately euthanized after exhaustive exercise, and biochemical and inflammatory parameters, including lactic acid (LA), tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), interleukin-1β (IL-1β), interleukin-6 (IL-6), interleukin-10 (IL-10), lactic dehydrogenase (LDH), and creatine kinase (CK) activity levels, were measured. Reverse transcription (RT) and Real-Time PCR was employed to evaluate the mRNA expression of IL-1β in the liver. Results: The results showed a decrease in serum LA levels (22%, p < 0.05) in rats that consumed dietary tea polyphenols. Interestingly, dietary tea polyphenols decreased the serum levels of pro-inflammatory factors (TNF-α: 13%, p < 0.05; IL-1β: 10%, p < 0.05; and IL-6: 48%, p < 0.05) and shifted the serum IL-10/TNF-α ratio to a predominantly anti-inflammatory milieu (0.52 ± 0.07 vs. 0.67 ± 0.10, p < 0.01). Furthermore, the polyphenols effectively inhibited the release of tissue damage markers (CK: 24%, p < 0.05 and LDH: 28%, p < 0.05) in the serum and decreased IL-1β mRNA expression in the liver. Conclusions: This study indicated that tea polyphenols could significantly protect rats from the fatigue, inflammation and tissue damage induced by acute exhaustive exercise.


Green tea; anti-inflammatory effects; lactic acid; mRNA expression; pro-inflammatory factors

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