Differential effects of theaflavin monogallates on cell growth, apoptosis, and Cox-2 gene expression in cancerous versus normal cells

J Lu, C T Ho, G Ghai, K Y Chen
Cancer Research 2000 November 15, 60 (22): 6465-71
Theaflavin (TF-1), theaflavin-3-monogallate and theaflavin-3'-monogallate mixture (TF-2), and theaflavin-3,3'-digallate (TF-3) are the major black tea polyphenols. Here we compared the effects of these polyphenols on cell growth, apoptosis, and gene expression in normal and cancerous cells. We showed that TF-2 (10-50 microM) inhibited the growth of SV40 transformed WI38 human cells (WI38VA) and Caco-2 colon cancer cells but had little effect on the growth of their normal counterparts. The IC50s of TF-2 for the growth inhibition of WI38 and WI38VA cells were, respectively, 300 and 3 microM. The other two black tea polyphenols, TF-1 and TF-3, did not exhibit such differential growth-inhibitory effect. TF-2, but not TF-1 or TF-3, induced apoptosis in transformed WI38VA cells but not in normal WI38 cells, suggesting that apoptosis was responsible, at least in part, for the differential growth-inhibitory effect of TF-2. Cox-2 has been implicated in intestinal carcinogenesis. Among the tea polyphenols tested, TF-2 and, to a lesser degree, (-)-epigallocatechin gallate inhibited cyclooxygenase (Cox)-2 gene expression. TF-2 at 50 microM completely blocked the serum-induced Cox-2 gene expression at both mRNA and protein level. Other genes, including c-fos, c-myc, thymidine kinase, proliferating cell nuclear antigen, BRCA1, BRCA2, and Cox-1, were not significantly affected by TF-2. These findings suggest that TF-2 may be responsible, at least in part, for the chemopreventive activity in black tea extracts.

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