Potential role of the mitochondria as a target for the hepatotoxic effects of (-)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate in mice

Karma D. James, Mary J. Kennett, Joshua D. Lambert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Green tea and (-)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) have been studied for their obesity-related health effects. Many green tea extract (GTE)-based dietary supplements are commercially-available. Although green tea beverage has a long history of safe use, a growing number of case-reports have linked GTE-based supplements to incidents of hepatotoxicity. Animal studies support the hepatotoxic potential of GTE and EGCG, but the mechanisms remain unclear. Here, we examined the hepatotoxic effects of EGCG in C57BL/6J mice and evaluated changes in hepatic antioxidant response and mitochondria structure and function. Intragastric dosing with EGCG (500 - 750 mg/kg) once daily for 3 d caused hepatic inflammation, necrosis, and hemorrhage. Hepatotoxicity was associated with increased oxidative stress and decreased superoxide dismutase and glutathione peroxidase levels. Real-time PCR and transmission electron microscopy showed decreased hepatic mitochondria copy number in EGCG-treated mice. The mRNA levels of marker genes of respiratory complex I and III, sirtuin 3, forkhead box O3a, and peroxisome-EGCG-treated mice. Sirtuin 3 protein levels were also decreased by EGCG. Our data indicate the mitochondria may be a target for EGCG, and that inhibition of mitochondria function/antioxidant response may be important for the hepatotoxicity of bolus EGCG.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)302-309
Number of pages8
JournalFood and Chemical Toxicology
StatePublished - Jan 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Food Science
  • Toxicology


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