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Green tea polyphenol epigallocatechin-3 gallate induces apoptosis of proliferating vascular smooth muscle cells via activation of p53.

FASEB J 2003 Apr;17(6):702-4

Hofmann CS; Sonenshein GE
Department of Biochemistry, Boston University School of Medicine, Massachusetts 02118, USA.

Green tea polyphenols (GTPs), which possess antioxidant properties, have been shown to inhibit the development of atherosclerotic lesions. Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), the most abundant GTP, displays antiproliferative effects in a variety of cell types. Here, we examined the effects of GTPs on aortic smooth muscle cell (SMC) proliferation. Treatment with a GTP mixture or EGCG at a dose of 40 to 50 microg/ml slowed SMC growth, while at a higher dose of 80 microg/ml EGCG also induced cell death as judged by TUNEL assay. Apoptosis was mainly observed in proliferating SMCs in subconfluent cultures; whereas at higher confluency, cell viability was largely unaffected. Treatment with 80 microg/ml EGCG induced the tumor suppressor p53, which was functional as judged by activation of the target cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor p21CIP1. Inhibition of p53 activity with a dominant negative mutant reduced cell death. The increase in p53 protein was due to increased stability. EGCG also induced functional nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-kappaB) complexes, and inhibition of this activity reduced the extent of cell death. Thus, EGCG inhibits growth and induces death of SMCs in a p53- and NF-kappaB-dependent manner. These results provide evidence for a new molecular mechanism whereby green tea polyphenols inhibit SMC proliferation and function to prevent the development of atherosclerosis.



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