, Volume 63, Issue 2, pp 171–179 | Cite as

Effect of green tea powder (Camellia sinensis L. cv. Benifuuki) particle size on O-methylated EGCG absorption in rats; The Kakegawa Study

  • Mari Maeda-YamamotoEmail author
  • Kaori Ema
  • Yoshiko Tokuda
  • Manami Monobe
  • Hirofumi Tachibana
  • Yoichi Sameshima
  • Shinichi Kuriyama
JAACT Special Issue


Tea polyphenols, e.g., (-)-epigallocatechin-3-O-(3-O-methyl gallate (EGCG3”Me), (-)-epigallocatechin-3-O-gallate (EGCG), (-)-epigallocatechin (EGC), (-)-epicatechin-3-O-gallate (ECG), and (-)-epicatechin (EC), are believed to be responsible for the beneficial effects of tea. ‘Benifuuki’, a tea (Camellia sinensis L.) cultivar grown in Japan, is rich in the anti-allergic molecule epigallocatechin-3-O-(3-O-methyl) gallate (EGCG3”Me). Pulverized Benifuuki green tea powder (BGP) is more widely distributed than leaf tea in Japan. Japanese people mix their pulverized tea with water directly, whereas it is common to drink leaf tea after extraction. However, few studies of the effects of BGP particle size on polyphenol bioavailability have been performed. This study was conducted to investigate the absorption of catechins in rats after the intragastric administration of Benifuuki green tea. Therefore, we assessed the plasma concentrations of catechins following the ingestion of BGP with different mean particle sizes (2.86, 18.6, and 76.1 μm) or Benifuuki green tea infusion (BGI) as a control in rats. The bioavailabilities of EGCG3”Me, EGCG, ECG, EGC, and EC were analyzed after the oral administration of a single dose of Benifuuki green tea (125 mg/rat) to rats. The plasma concentrations of tea catechins were determined by HPLC analysis combined with of electrochemical detection (ECD) using a coulometric array. The AUC (area under the drug concentration versus time curve; min μg/mL) of ester-type catechins (EGCG3”Me, EGCG, and ECG) for the BGP 2.86 μm were significantly higher than those in the infusion and 18.6 and 76.1 μm BGP groups, but the AUC of free-type catechins (EGC and EC) showed no differences between these groups. Regarding the peak plasma level of EGCG3”Me adjusted for intake, BGP 2.86 μm and BGI showed higher values than the BGP 18.6 and 76.1 μm groups, and the peak plasma levels of the other catechins displayed the same tendency. The present study demonstrates that the bioavailability of ester-type catechins (EGCG and ECG) can be improved by reducing the particle size of green tea, but the plasma level of EGCG3”Me in the BGI group was similar to that in the BGP 2.86 μm group. This result suggests that drinking Benifuuki green tea with a particle size of around 2 μm would deliver the anti-allergic EGCG3”Me and the anti-oxidant EGCG efficiently.


O-methylated EGCG Absorption ‘Benifuuki’ green tea powder particle size Anti-allergic effect 





(-)-Epigallocatechin-3-O-(3-O-methyl) gallate








Benifuuki green tea infusion


Benifuuki green tea powder


High-performance liquid chromatography


Area under the plasma concentration versus time curve


The maximum plasma concentration


Time to reach the maximum plasma concentration





This work ‘The Kakegawa Study’ was supported by Research and development projects for application in promoting new policy of agriculture forestry and fisheries, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Japan. (Grant No. 21028).


  1. Ahmad N, Cheng P, Mukhtar H (2000) Cell cycle dysregulation by green tea polyphenol epigallocatechin-3-gallate. Biochem Biophys Res Commun 275:328–334CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bors W, Saran M (1987) Radical scavenging by flavonoid antioxidants. Free Radic Res Commun 2:289–294CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Cao Y, Cao R (1999) Angiogenesis inhibited by drinking tea. Nature 398:381–382CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Chen L, Lee MJ, Li H, Yang CS (1997) Absorption, distribution, and elimination of tea polyphenols in rat. Drug metabol disposit 25:1045–1050Google Scholar
  5. Chisaka T, Matsuda H, Kubomura Y, Mochizuki M, Yamamura J, Fujimura H (1988) The effect of crude drugs on experimental hypercholesteremia: mode of action of (-)-epigallocatechin gallate in tea leaves. Chem Pharm Bull 36:227–233Google Scholar
  6. Deng Y, XU H, Huang K, Yang X, Xie C, Wu J (2001) Size effects of realgar particles on apotosis in a humna umbilical vein emdothelial cell line; ECV-304. Pharmacol Res 44:513–518CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Fujimura Y, Tachibana H, Maeda-Yamamoto M, Miyase T, Sano M, Yamada K (2002) Antiallergic tea catechin: (-)-epigallocatechin-3-o-(3-o-methyl)-gallate, suppresses fcepsilonri expression in human basophilic KU812 Cells. J Agric Food Chem 50:5729–5730CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Fujimura Y, Umeda D, Yano S, Maeda-Yamamoto M, Yamada K, Tachibana H (2007) The 67 kDa laminin receptor as a primary determinant of anti-allergic effects of o-methylated EGCG. Biochem Biophys Res Commun 364:79–85CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Fukai K, Ishigami T, Hara Y (1991) Antibacterial activity of tea polyphenols against phytopathogenic bacteria. Agric Biol Chem 55:1895–1897Google Scholar
  10. Haraguchi Y, Imada Y, Sawamura S (2003) Production of characterization of fine matcha for processed food. Nippon Shokuhin Kagaku Kougaku Kaishi 50:468–473Google Scholar
  11. Hashimoto F, Ono M, Masuoka C, Ito Y, Sakata Y, Shimizu K, Nonaka G, Nishioka I, Nohara T (2003) Evaluation of the anti-oxidative effect (in vitro) of tea polyphenols. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem 67:396–401CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Hattori M, Kusumoto I, Namba T, Ishigami T, Hara Y (1990) Effect of tea polyphenols on glucan synthesis by glucosyltransferase from Streptococcus mutans. Chem Pharm Bull (Tokyo) 38:717–720Google Scholar
  13. Isemura M, Suzuki Y, Satoh K, Narumi K, Motomiya M (1993) Effects of catechins on the mouse lung carcinoma cell adhesion to the endothelial cells. Cell Biol Int 17:559–564CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Kawakami T, Galli SJ (2002) Regulation of mast-cell and basophil function and survival by IgE. Nat Rev Immunol 2:773–786CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Kimura M, Umegaki K, Kasuya Y, Sugisawa A, Higuchi M (2002) The relation between single/double or repeated tea catechin ingestions and plasma antioxidant activity in humans. Eur J Clin Nutr 56:1186–1193CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Kinet JP (1999) The high-affinity IgE receptor (Fc epsilon RI): from physiology to pathology. Annu Rev Immunol 17:931–972CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Kuroda Y, Hara Y (1999) Antimutagenic and anticarcinogenic activity of tea polyphenols. Mutat Res 436:69–97CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Lambert JD, Yang CS (2003) Cancer chemopreventive activity and bioavailability of tea and tea polyphenols. Mutat Res 523:201–208Google Scholar
  19. Lambert JD, Lee AJ, Lu H, Meng X, Hong JJJ, Seril DN, Sturgill MG, Yang CS (2003) Epigallocatechin-3-gallate is absorbed but extensively glucuronidated following oral administration to mice. J Nutrition 133:4172–4177Google Scholar
  20. Lambert JD, Hong J, Kim DH, Misin VM, Yand CS (2004) Piperine enhsances the bioavailabiliyu of the tea polyphenol (-)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate in mice. J Nutr 134:1948–1952Google Scholar
  21. Lambert JD, Kwon SJ, Ju J, Bose M, Lee MJ, Hong J, Hao X, Yang CS (2008) Effect of genistein on the bioavailability and intestinal cancer chemoprevention activity of (-)-epigallocatechi-3-gallate. Carcinogenesis 29:2019–2024CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Lee MJ, Prabhe S, Meng X, Li C, Yang CS (2000) An improved method for the determination of green and black tea polyphenols in biomatrices by high-performance liquid chromatography with coulometric array detection. Anal Biochem 279:164–169CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Lee MJ, Maliakal P, Chen L, Meng X, Bondoc FY, Prabhu S, Lambert G, Mohr S, Yang CS (2002) Pharmacokinetics of tea catechins after ingestion of green tea and (-)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate by humans: formation of different metabolites and variability. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 11:1025–1032Google Scholar
  24. Li H, Li F, Yang F, Fang Y, Xin Z, Zhao L, Hu Q (2008) Size effect of Se-enriched green tea particles on in vitro antioxidant and antitumor activities. J Agric Food Chem 56:4529–4533CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Lin JK, Liang YC, Lin-Shiau SY (1999) Cancer chemoprevention by tea polyphenols through mitotic signal transduction blockade. Biochem Pharmacol 58:911–915CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Maeda-Yamamoto M, Kawahara H, Matsuda N, Nesumi K, Sano M, Tsuji K, Kawakami Y, Kawakami T (1998) Effects of tea infusions of various varieties or different manufacturing types on inhibition of mouse mast cell activation. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem 62:2277–2279CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Maeda-Yamamoto M, Kawahara H, Tahara N, Tsuji K, Isemura M, Hara Y (1999) Effects of tea polyphenols on the invasion and matrix metalloproteinases activities of human fibrosarcoma HT1080 cells. J Agric Food Chem 47:2350–2354CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Maeda-Yamamoto M, Sano M, Matsuda N, Miyase T, Kawamoto K, Suzuki N, Yoshimura M, Tachibana H, Hakamata K (2001) The change of epigallocatechin-3-o- (3-o-methyl) gallate contents in tea of different varieties, tea seasons of crop and processing method. J Jpn Food Sci Tech 48:64–68Google Scholar
  29. Maeda-Yamamoto M, Suzuki N, Sawai Y, Miyase T, Sano M, Hashimoto-Ohta A, Isemura M (2003) Association of suppression of ERK phosphorylation by EGCG with the reduction of matrix metalloproteinase activities in human fibrosarcoma HT1080 cells. J Agric Food Chem 51:1858–1863CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Maeda-Yamamoto M, Inagaki N, Kitaura J, Chikumoto T, Kawahara H, Kawakami Y, Sano M, Miyase T, Tachibana H, Nagai H, Kawakami T (2004) O-methylated catechins from tea leaves, inhibit multiple protein kinases in mast cells. J Immunology 172:4486–4492Google Scholar
  31. Maeda-Yamamoto M, Nagai H, Suzuki Y, Ema K, Mitsuda H (2005) Changed in–methylated catechin and chemical component contents of ‘Benifuuki’ green tea (Camellia sinensis L.) beverage under various extraction conditions. Food Sci Technol Res 11:248–253CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Maeda-Yamamoto M, Ema K, Shibuichi I (2007) In vitro and in vivo anti-allergic effects of ‘benifuuki’ green tea containing o-methylated catechin and ginger extract enhancement. Cytotechnology 55:135–142CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Matsumoto N, Okushio K, Hara Y (1998) Effect of black tea polyphenols on plasma lipids in cholesterol-fed rats. J Nutr Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo) 44:337–342Google Scholar
  34. Matsuo N, Yamada K, Shoji K, Mori M, Sugano M (1997) Effect of tea polyphenols on histamine release from rat basophilic leukemia (RBL-2H3) cells; structure-inhibitory activity relationship. Allergy 55:58–64CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Murase T, Nagasawa A, Suzuki J, Hase T, Tokimitsu I (2002) Beneficial effects of tea catechins on diet-induced obesity: stimulation of lipid catabolism in the liver. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord 26:1459–1464CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. O’Brien N, Cummins E (2010) Ranking initial environmental and human health risk resulting from environmentally relevant nanomaterials. J Environ Sci Health A Tox Hazard Subst Environ Eng 45:992–1007Google Scholar
  37. Okubo T, Ishihara N, Okura A, Serit M, Kim M, Yamamoto T, Mitsuoka T (1992) In vitro effects of tea polyphenols intake on human intestinal microflora and metabolism. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem 56:588–591CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Okuda T, Kimura Y, Yoshida T, Hatano T, Okuda H, Arichi S (1983) Studies on the activities of tannins and related compounds from medicinal plants and drugs I. Inhibitory effects on lipid peroxidation in mitochondria and microsomes of liver. Chem Pharm Bull 32:1625–1631Google Scholar
  39. Sakanaka S, Shiumua N, Masumi M, Kim M, Yamamoto T (1992) Preventive effect of green tea polyphenols against dental caries in conventional rats. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem 56:592–594CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Sano M, Suzuki M, Miyase T, Yoshino K, Maeda-Yamamoto M (1999) Novel antiallergic catechin derivatives isolated from oolong tea. J Agric Food Chem 47:1906–1910CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Sawamura S, Haraguchi Y, Ikeda H, sonoda J (2010) Properties and shapes of Matcha with various milling method. Nippon Shokuhin Kagaku Kogoku Kaishi 57:304–309CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Sazuka M, Murakami S, Isemura M, Satoh K, Nukiwa T (1995) Inhibitory effects of green tea infusion on in vitro invasion and in vivo metastasis of mouse lung carcinoma cells. Cancer Lett 98:27–31Google Scholar
  43. Sazuka M, Imazawa H, Shoji Y, Mita T, Hara Y, Isemura M (1997) Inhibition of zcollagenases from mouse lung carcinoma cells by green tea catechins and black tea theaflavins. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem 61:1504–1506CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Suganuma M, Okabe S, Sueoka N, Sueoka E, Matsuyama S, Imai K, Nakachi K, Fujiki H (1999) Green tea and cancer chemoprevention. Mutat Res 428:339–344Google Scholar
  45. Suzuki M, Yoshino K, Maeda-Yamamoto M, Miyase T, Sano M (2000) Inhibitory effects of tea catechins and o-methylated derivatives of (-)-epigallocatechin-3-o-gallate on mouse type-IV allergy. J Agric Food Chem 48:5649–5653CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Suzuki T, Yamazaki N, Sada Y, Oguni I, Moriyasu Y (2003) Tissue distribution and intracellular localization of catechin in tea leaves. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem 67:2683–2868CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Tachibana H, Kubo T, Miyase T, Tanino S, Yoshimoto M, Sano M, Maeda-Yamamoto M, Yamada K (2001) Identification of an Inhibitor for interleukin 4-induced e germline transcription and antigen-specific IgE production in vivo. Biochem Biophys Res Commun 280:53–60CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Yamashita K, Suzuki Y, Matsui T, Yoshimura T, Yamaki M, Suzuki-Karasaki M, Hayakawa S, Shimizu K (2000) Epigallocatechin gallate inhibits histamine release from rat basophilic leukemia (RBL-2H3) cells; role of tyrosine phophorylation pathway. Biochem Biophysic Res Commun 274:603–608CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Yokozawa T, Okura H, Sakanaka S, Ishigaki S, Kim M (1994) Depressor effect of tannin in green tea on rats with renal hypertension. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem 58:855–858CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mari Maeda-Yamamoto
    • 1
    Email author
  • Kaori Ema
    • 1
  • Yoshiko Tokuda
    • 1
  • Manami Monobe
    • 1
  • Hirofumi Tachibana
    • 2
  • Yoichi Sameshima
    • 3
  • Shinichi Kuriyama
    • 4
  1. 1.National Institute of Vegetable and Tea SciencesNational Agriculture and Food Research OrganizationShimadaJapan
  2. 2.Bioscience & Biotechnology Faculty of Agriculture, Graduate School of Bioenvironmental SciencesKyushu UniversityFukuokaJapan
  3. 3.Kakegawa City General HospitalKakegawaJapan
  4. 4.Department of Molecular Epidemiology, Environment and Genome Research CenterTohoku University Graduate School of MedicineSendaiJapan

Personalised recommendations