28-Day oral (gavage) toxicity studies of green tea catechins prepared for beverages in rats
Author:Christopher P. Chengelis and Jeannie B. Kirkpatrick and Karen S. Regan and Ann E. Radovsky and Melissa J. Beck and Osamu Morita and Yasushi Tamaki and Hiroyuki Suzuki
The beneficial health effects associated with drinking green tea are widely considered to be due primarily to tea catechins. Heat treatment of marketed green tea beverages for sterilization causes epimerization and/or polymerization of tea catechins. Safety studies on heat-treated tea catechins are limited. The objective of the present study was to evaluate potential adverse effects, if any, of two standardized green tea catechin (GTC) preparations: one that underwent heat sterilization (GTC-H) and one that was not heat-sterilized (GTC-UH). A decaffeinated preparation of the GTC-H (GTC-HDC) was also evaluated to ascertain if any effects were due to caffeine. The GTC preparations were administered to rats once daily at levels up to 2000 mg/kg/day for 28 days. There were no deaths attributable to the GTC preparations. The clinical condition of the animals, functional observational battery, motor activity, clinical pathology evaluations, organ weights, and gross necropsy findings were unaffected by any of the GTC preparations. GTC-HDC or GTC-UH dosing had no effects on body weights or microscopic findings, whereas lower body weights and food consumption were observed in the 1000 and 2000 mg/kg/day GTC-H group males. The no observed-adverse-effect level (NOAEL) for localized gastric effects for GTC-H was 1000 mg/kg/day. No other target organs were identified. Thus, the NOAEL for systemic toxicity following oral administration was 2000 mg/kg/day for GTC-H, GTC HDC, and GTC-UH under the conditions of this study.