Phase I pharmacokinetic study of tea polyphenols following single-dose administration of epigallocatechin gallate and polyphenon E

H H Chow, Y Cai, D S Alberts, I Hakim, R Dorr, F Shahi, J A Crowell, C S Yang, Y Hara
Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention 2001, 10 (1): 53-8
Green tea has been shown to exhibit cancer-preventive activities in preclinical studies. Its principal active components include epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), epigallocatechin (EGC), epicatechin (EC), and epicatechin gallate, of which EGCG is the most abundant and possesses the most potent antioxidative activity. We performed a Phase I pharmacokinetic study to determine the systemic availability of green tea catechins after single oral dose administration of EGCG and Polyphenon E (decaffeinated green tea catechin mixture). Twenty healthy subjects (five subjects/dose level) were randomly assigned to one of the dose levels (200, 400, 600, and 800 mg based on EGCG content). All subjects were randomly crossed-over to receive the two catechin formulations at the same dose level. Blood and urine samples were collected for up to 24 h after oral administration of the study medication. Tea catechin concentrations in plasma and urine samples were determined using high-performance liquid chromatography with the coulometric electrode array detection system. After EGCG versus Polyphenon E administration, the mean area under the plasma concentration-time curves (AUC) of unchanged EGCG were 22.5 versus 21.9, 35.4 versus 52.2, 101.9 versus 79.7, and 167.1 versus 161.4 min x microg/ml at the 200-, 400-, 600-, and 800-mg dose levels, respectively. EGC and EC were not detected in plasma after EGCG administration and were present at low/undetectable levels after Polyphenon E administration. High concentrations of EGC and EC glucuronide/sulfate conjugates were found in plasma and urine samples after Polyphenon E administration. There were no significant differences in the pharmacokinetic characteristics of EGCG between the two study medications. The AUC and maximum plasma concentration (Cmax) of EGCG after the 800-mg dose of EGCG were found to be significantly higher than those after the 200- and 400-mg dose. The AUC and Cmax of EGCG after the 800-mg dose of Polyphenon E were significantly higher than those after the three lower doses. We conclude that the two catechin formulations resulted in similar plasma EGCG levels. EGC and EC were present in the body after the Polyphenon E administration; however, they were present predominantly in conjugated forms. The systemic availability of EGCG increased at higher doses, possibly due to saturable presystemic elimination of orally administered green tea polyphenols.

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