Effect of green tea in the prevention and reversal of fasting-induced intestinal mucosal damage
Author: Sami Asfar and Suad Abdeen and Hussein Dashti and Mousa Khoursheed and Hilal Al-Sayer and Thazhumpal Mathew and Abdullatif Al-Bader
Objective Epidemiologic studies have suggested that high consumption of green tea protects against the development of chronic active gastritis and decreases the risk of stomach cancer. The effect of green tea on the intestinal mucosa was not studied previously, so we examined the effects of green tea on the intestinal mucosa of fasting rats in a controlled experimental setting. Methods Two sets of experiments were performed. In the recovery set, rats were fasted for 3 d, after which they were allowed free access to water, black tea, green tea, or vitamin E for 7 d. On day 8, the animals were killed, and small bowels were removed for histologic examination. In the pretreatment set, rats were allowed a normal diet, but the water supply was replaced with green tea, black tea, or vitamin E for 14 d. They were subsequently fasted for 3 d. On day 4, the rats were killed, and small bowels were removed for histologic examination. Results In the recovery set, fasting for 3 d caused shortening of villi, atrophy, and fragmentation of mucosal villous architecture, with a significant (P < 0.0001) reduction in the length and surface area of the villi. Ingestion of green tea and, to a lesser extent, vitamin E for 7 d helped in the recovery of villi to normal. In the pretreatment set, drinking green tea, black tea, or vitamin E for 14 d before fasting protected intestinal mucosa from damage. Conclusion The mucosal and villous atrophy induced by fasting was reverted to normal by the ingestion of green tea and, to a lesser extent, vitamin E. Black tea ingestion had no effect. In addition, ingestion of black tea, green tea, and vitamin E before fasting protected the intestinal mucosa against atrophy.