Decaffeinated green and black tea polyphenols decrease weight gain and alter microbiome populations and function in diet-induced obese mice



Decaffeinated green tea (GT) and black tea (BT) polyphenols inhibit weight gain in mice fed an obesogenic diet. Since the intestinal microflora is an important contributor to obesity, it was the objective of this study to determine whether the intestinal microflora plays a role in the anti-obesogenic effect of GT and BT.


C57BL/6J mice were fed a high-fat/high-sucrose diet (HF/HS, 32% energy from fat; 25% energy from sucrose) or the same diet supplemented with 0.25% GTP or BTP or a low-fat/high-sucrose (LF/HS, 10.6% energy from fat, 25% energy from sucrose) diet for 4 weeks. Bacterial composition was assessed by MiSeq sequencing of the 16S rRNA gene.


GTP and BTP diets resulted in a decrease of cecum Firmicutes and increase in Bacteroidetes. The relative proportions of Blautia, Bryantella, Collinsella, Lactobacillus, Marvinbryantia, Turicibacter, Barnesiella, and Parabacteroides were significantly correlated with weight loss induced by tea extracts. BTP increased the relative proportion of Pseudobutyrivibrio and intestinal formation of short-chain fatty acids (SCFA) analyzed by gas chromatography. Cecum propionic acid content was significantly correlated with the relative proportion of Pseudobutyrivibrio. GTP and BTP induced a significant increase in hepatic 5′adenosylmonophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK) phosphorylation by 70 and 289%, respectively (P < 0.05) determined by Western blot.


In summary, both BTP and GTP induced weight loss in association with alteration of the microbiota and increased hepatic AMPK phosphorylation. We hypothesize that BTP increased pAMPK through increased intestinal SCFA production, while GTPs increased hepatic AMPK through GTP present in the liver.

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This work was supported by the National Institute of Health (R03CA171583 and P50CA092131) and departmental funds of the Center for Human Nutrition, Department of Medicine, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles.

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Correspondence to Susanne M. Henning.

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Henning, S.M., Yang, J., Hsu, M. et al. Decaffeinated green and black tea polyphenols decrease weight gain and alter microbiome populations and function in diet-induced obese mice. Eur J Nutr 57, 2759–2769 (2018).

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  • Black tea
  • Green tea
  • Polyphenols
  • Microflora
  • Obesity
  • AMPK phosphorylation
  • Short-chain fatty acids