Effect of simulated gastrointestinal conditions and epithelial transport on extracts of green tea and sage
Author: Ilze Vermaak and Alvaro M. Viljoen and Josias H. Hamman and Sandy F. Van Vuuren
Few in vitro screening studies on the biological activities of plant extracts that are intended for oral administration consider the effect of the gastrointestinal system. This study investigated this aspect on extracts of Camellia sinensis (green tea) and Salvia officinalis (sage) using antimicrobial activity as a model for demonstration. Both the crude extracts and their products after exposure to simulated gastric fluid (SGF) as well as simulated intestinal fluid (SIF) were screened for antimicrobial activity. The chromatographic profiles of the crude plant extracts and their SGF as well as SIF products were recorded and compared qualitatively by means of high performance liquid chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry. The effect of epithelial transport on the crude plant extracts was determined by applying them to an in vitro intestinal epithelial model (Caco-2). The crude extracts for both plants exhibited reduced antimicrobial activity after exposure to SGF, while no antimicrobial activity was detected after exposure to SIF. These results suggested chemical modification or degradation of the antimicrobial compounds when exposed to gastrointestinal conditions. This was confirmed by a reduction of the peak areas on the LC–UV–MS chromatograms. From the chromatographic profiles obtained during the transport study, it is evident that some compounds in the crude plant extracts were either not transported across the cell monolayer or they were metabolised during passage through the cells. It can be deduced that the gastrointestinal environment and epithelial transport process can dramatically affect the chromatographic profiles and biological activity of orally ingested natural products.