Comparative study of the growth-inhibitory and apoptosis-inducing activities of black tea theaflavins and green tea catechin on murine myeloid leukemia cells

Hong-Lok Lung, Wai-Ki Ip, Zhen-Yu Chen, Nai-Ki Mak, Kwok-Nam Leung
International Journal of Molecular Medicine 2004, 13 (3): 465-71
Among the black tea polyphenols, theaflavins are generally considered to be the more effective components for the inhibition of carcinogenesis. In this study, we attempted to compare the growth-inhibitory and apoptosis-inducing activities of the four black tea theaflavins (TF-1, TF-2A, TF-2B and TF-3) with the major green tea catechin epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) on the murine myeloid leukemia WEHI-3B JCS cells. All the four black tea theaflavins were shown to exert potent anti-proliferative and cytotoxic effects on the leukemia WEHI-3B JCS cells in a dose-dependent manner. The observed anti-proliferative and cytotoxic effects were in the following order of potency: EGCG > TF-2B > TF-3 > TF-2A > TF-1. In addition, all theaflavins were capable of inducing apoptosis in the leukemia WEHI-3B JCS cells. Among the four theaflavins tested, TF-2B and TF-3 were found to be slightly more potent in inducing apoptosis of the WEHI-3B JCS cells than that of TF-2A and TF-1 but were comparable to the major green tea epicatechin EGCG. More interestingly, both TF-2B and TF-3 were found to be much more effective than TF-1 and TF-2B in reducing both the in vitro clonogenicity and in vivo tumorigenicity of the WEHI-3B JCS cells, suggesting that these two black tea theaflavins might represent potential candidates for the treatment of some forms of leukemia.

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