Green tea catechins alleviate autoimmune symptoms and visual impairment in a murine model for human chronic intraocular inflammation by inhibiting Th17-associated pro-inflammatory gene expression.
Sci Rep. 2019 02 19 ;9(1):2301. Epub 2019 Feb 19. PMID: 30783194
Autoimmune uveitis is a sight-threatening disease mainly caused by dysregulation of immunity. We investigated the therapeutic effects of green tea extract (GTE) and its major component, epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), on a murine model of experimental autoimmune uveoretinitis (EAU). Oral administration of GTE, EGCG, dexamethasone, or water, which started 5 days before the induction, was fed every two days to each group. On day 21 post induction, the eyes were examined by confocal scanning laser ophthalmoscopy, optical coherence tomography (OCT), fundus fluorescein angiography (FFA) and electroretinography (ERG) prior to sacrificing the animals for histological assessments and gene expression studies. Retinal-choroidal thicknesses (RCT) and major retinal vessel diameter were measured on OCT sections and FFA images, respectively. Comparing to water-treated EAU animals, GTE attenuated uveitis clinical manifestations, RCT increase (1.100 ± 0.013 times vs 1.005 ± 0.012 times, P < 0.001), retinal vessel dilation (308.9 ± 6.189 units vs 240.8 units, P < 0.001), ERG amplitudes attenuation, histopathological ocular damages, and splenomegaly in EAU mice. The therapeutic effects of GTE were dose dependent and were comparable to dexamethasone. EGCG, a major active constituent of GTE, partially alleviated uveitic phenotypes including recovering visualfunction. Th-17 associated pro-inflammatory gene [interleukin 1 beta (IL-1β), IL-6, IL-17A, and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α)] expressions were down regulated by GTE and EGCG treatments, which showed no detectable morphological defects in liver and kidney in non-induced and EAU mice. Our findings suggest that GTE consumption can serve as a potent therapeutic agent as well as a food supplement for developing alternative treatments against autoimmune uveitis.