The green tea polyphenol (-)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate blocks nuclear factor-κB activation by inhibiting IκB kinase activity in the intestinal epithelial cell line IEC-6

Fajun Yang, Helieh S. Oz, Shirish Barve, Willem J.S. De Villiers, Craig J. McClain, Gary W. Varilek

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325 Scopus citations


The IκB kinase complex (IKK) mediates activation of the transcription factor nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB). We previously showed that green tea polyphenols inhibited endotoxin-mediated tumor necrosis factor-α (TNFα) production by blocking NF-κB activation. In this study, we evaluated whether green tea polyphenols inhibit NF-κB by blocking IKK activity. We assessed IKK activity by detecting changes in phosphorylation of an IκBα-glutathione S-transferase (GST) fusion protein. IEC-6 cells pretreated with an extract of green tea polyphenols (GrTPs; 0-0.4 mg/ml) had diminished TNFα-induced IKK and NF-κB activity. Of the various GrTPs, (-)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) was the most potent inhibitor. We next examined whether EGCG inhibited activated IKK. In cytosolic extracts of TNFα-stimulated cells, EGCG inhibited phosphorylation of IκBα-GST (IC50 > 18 μM) consistent with inhibition of IKK activity. Using other polyphenols, we showed that the gallate group was essential for inhibition, and antioxidants were ineffective in blocking activated IKK. Importantly, EGCG decreased IKK activity in cytosolic extracts of NIK transiently transfected cells. This latter finding showed that our findings were not related to nonspecific kinase activity. In conclusion, EGCG is an effective inhibitor of IKK activity. This may explain, at least in part, some of the reported anti-inflammatory and anticancer effects of green tea.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)528-533
Number of pages6
JournalMolecular Pharmacology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 4 2001
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology

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