Paradoxical effects of green tea (Camellia sinensis) and antioxidant vitamins in diabetic rats: Improved retinopathy and renal mitochondrial defects but deterioration of collagen matrix glycoxidation and cross-linking

Georgian T. Mustata, Mariana Rosca, Klaus M. Biemel, Oliver Reihl, Mark A. Smith, Ashwini Viswanathan, Christopher Strauch, Yunpeng Du, Jie Tang, Timothy S. Kern, Markus O. Lederer, Michael Brownlee, Miriam F. Weiss, Vincent M. Monnier

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92 Scopus citations


We tested the hypothesis that green tea prevents diabetes-related tissue dysfunctions attributable to oxidation. Diabetic rats were treated daily with tap water, vitamins C and E, or fresh Japanese green tea extract. After 12 months, body weights were decreased, whereas glycated lysine in aorta, tendon, and plasma were increased by diabetes (P < 0.001) but unaffected by treatment. Erythrocyte glutathione and plasma hydroperoxides were improved by the vitamins (P < 0.05) and green tea (P < 0.001). Retinal superoxide production, acellular capillaries, and pericyte ghosts were increased by diabetes (P < 0.001) and improved by green tea and the vitamins (P variable). Lens crystallin fluorescence at 370/440 nm was ameliorated by green tea (P < 0.05) but not the vitamins. Marginal effects on nephropathy parameters were noted. However, suppressed renal mitochondrial NADH-linked ADP-dependent and dinitrophenol-dependent respiration and complex III activity were improved by green tea (P variable). Green tea also suppressed the methylglyoxal hydroimidazolone immunostaining of a 28-kDa mitochondrial protein. Surprising, glycoxidation in tendon, aorta, and plasma was either worsened or not significantly improved by the vitamins and green tea. Glucosepane cross-links were increased by diabetes (P < 0.001), and green tea worsened total cross-linking. In conclusion, green tea and antioxidant vitamins improved several diabetes-related cellular dysfunctions but worsened matrix glycoxidation in selected tissues, suggesting that antioxidant treatment tilts the balance from oxidative to carbonyl stress in the extracellular compartment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)517-526
Number of pages10
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 2005


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism

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