(−)-Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), a major component of green tea catechins, is known to inhibit cell growth and to induce apoptosis in a variety of cultured cells. We examined effects of green tea catechins in cultured cells derived from human gastric carcinoma. The proliferation of four cell lines (MKN-1, MKN-45, MKN-74 and KATO-III) was inhibited with EGCG in a dose-dependent manner. The growth of MKN-45 cells was most efficiently inhibited by the treatment (IC50: 40 μM EGCG) among the four cell lines, while KATO-III cells were most insensitive (IC50: 80—150 μM) to the EGCG treatment. In addition, (−)-epicatechin (EC) had a major synergistic effect on the induction of apoptosis in MKN-45 cells treated with EGCG; however it had little effect on the inhibition of cell growth induced by EGCG. To study the molecular mechanisms behind the induction of apoptosis by EGCG, the activity of caspases in MKN-45 cells treated with EGCG was examined. Activity levels of caspases-3, -8 and -9 were elevated in EGCG-treated cells, suggesting that these caspases are involved in the apoptosis induced by EGCG. Furthermore, the synergistic effect of EC with EGCG on the induction of apoptosis was specifically canceled by catalase treatment, suggesting that the synergism involves the extracellular production of reactive oxygen species.
2005 The Pharmaceutical Society of Japan