Author: C.W. Embola and O.S. Sohn and E.S. Fiala and J.H. Weisburger
Tea is one of the most frequently consumed beverages in the world, second only to water. Epidemiological studies have associated the consumption of green tea with a lower risk of several types of cancers, including stomach, oral cavity, esophagus, and lung. This paper deals with the mechanism of action of tea as an effective chemopreventive agent for toxic chemicals and especially carcinogens. UDP-glucuronosyltransferase (UDP-GT) activities towards p-nitrophenol were markedly increased (51.8% or 1.5-fold) in rats that consumed tea compared with the control animals on water. Induction of UDP-glucuronosyltransferase activity by tea may involve the UDP-GT1 (UGT1A) gene complex of the UDP-GT multigene family. Therefore, a major mechanism of tea as a chemopreventive agent is induction of the microsomal detoxification enzyme, UDP-glucuronosyltransferase.