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Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2003 Jul-Sep;4(3):233-7.

Modulation of arsenic induced cytotoxicity by tea.

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Environmental Carcinogenesis and Toxicology Department, Chittaranjan National Cancer institute, Kolkata 700 026, India.


Arsenic, a naturally ocurring chemical element, is considered hazardous to human health. Inorganic arsenic compounds were found to induce cytotoxicity in Chinese hamster V-79 cells in culture. The arsenite form was more toxic than arsenate. Extracts of green and two varieties of black tea, as well as their principal polyphenols, (-)-epigallocatechingallate and theaflavin, efficiently counteracted the cytotoxic effects of arsenic compounds. On the basis of the amount of tea extract that afforded 50% protection to the cells from arsenic induced cytotoxicity, black tea was found to be as effective as green tea. The protective effect was attributable to the contents of not only (-)-epigallocatechingallate but also of theaflavin, the latter being a predominant polyphenol present in black tea.

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