Safety studies on epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) preparations. Part 3: teratogenicity and reproductive toxicity studies in rats

R A Isbrucker, J A Edwards, E Wolz, A Davidovich, J Bausch
Food and Chemical Toxicology 2006, 44 (5): 651-61
Green tea and its principal active ingredient, epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), have been demonstrated to have anticancer properties through interactions with multiple biochemical processes. Since these processes are often crucial in normal fetal development it is important to evaluate the potential effects of EGCG on the fetus. EGCG preparations of >91% purity were administered to pregnant rats during organogenesis and development in order to define the safety of Teavigo, a high-concentration EGCG extract produced by the same novel method. In an initial preliminary study using subcutaneous and gavage routes, there was no evidence of any direct embryo-fetal toxicity, although some maternal toxicity was seen. In the main teratogenicity study, feeding pregnant rats diets supplemented at 1400, 4200 or 14,000 ppm during organogenesis was non-toxic to dams or fetuses. A two-generation study in rats fed 1200, 3600 or 12,000 ppm EGCG preparation showed no adverse effects on reproduction or fertility. The highest dose reduced the growth rate of offspring, and there was a slight increase in pup loss. A growth effect among pups was also seen at 3600 ppm, but in the second generation only. The lowest dose was considered the overall no-observed adverse effect level (NOAEL). As dams consumed twice the amount of feed during the crucial lactation period, the NOAEL was equivalent to 200 mg/kg/day EGCG preparation.

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