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Allergy. 1997 Jan;52(1):58-64.

Effect of tea polyphenols on histamine release from rat basophilic leukemia (RBL-2H3) cells: the structure-inhibitory activity relationship.

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Laboratory of Food Science, Kyushu University School of Agriculture, Fukuoka, Japan.


We studied the effect of tea polyphenols on histamine release from rat basophilic leukemia (RBL-2H3) cells. Among tea polyphenols, (-)- epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) most strongly and dose-dependently inhibited histamine release from cells stimulated with a calcium ionophore, A23187. (-)-Epigallocatechin (EGC) and (-)-epicatechin gallate (ECG) with a triphenol residue moderately inhibited histamine release, whereas diphenolic (+)-catechin (C) and (-)-epicatechin (EC) did not. The magnitude of the inhibitory effect was in the order EGCG > ECG > EGC. Among simple polyphenols, the triphenol compounds, pyrogallol (PG) and gallic acid (GA) exerted inhibitory activity, but the diphenols, pyrocatechol, hydroquinone, and resorcinol did not. In addition, the mixture of PG and GA inhibited histamine release as strongly as EGCG with two triphenol residues. Similarly, they inhibited histamine release induced by IgE-antigen complex stimulation more efficiently than that induced by A23187 stimulation. EGCG did not inhibit the increase of intracellular Ca2+ in RBL-2H3 cells stimulated with A23187 or IgE antigen. These results indicate that the triphenol structure plays an important role in the inhibitory activity of tea polyphenols. Their activity seemed to be exerted through the metabolic events occurring after the elevation of intracellular Ca2+ concentration.

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