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Inhibitory Effects of Green Tea Polyphenols on Microbial Metabolism of Aromatic Amino Acids in Humans Revealed by Metabolomic Analysis

Department of Food Science and Nutrition, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN 55108, USA
Department of Nutrition & Dietetics, University of North Florida, Jacksonville, FL 32224, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Metabolites 2019, 9(5), 96;
Received: 7 April 2019 / Revised: 9 May 2019 / Accepted: 9 May 2019 / Published: 11 May 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Metabolite Markers of Phytochemicals)
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The bioactivities and potential health benefits of green tea polyphenols (GTP) have been extensively investigated, but the metabolic impact of chronic GTP intake on humans is not well defined. In this study, fecal and urine samples from postmenopausal female subjects taking a GTP supplement or placebo for 12 months were compared by liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry-based metabolomic analysis. The GTP-derived and GTP-responsive metabolites were identified and characterized by structural elucidation and quantitative analysis of the metabolites contributing to the separation of control and treatment samples in the multivariate models. Major GTP and their direct sulfate and glucuronide metabolites were absent in feces and urine. In contrast, GTP-derived phenyl-γ-valerlactone and phenylvaleric acid metabolites were identified as the most abundant GTP-derived metabolites in feces and urine, suggesting extensive microbial biotransformation of GTP in humans. Interestingly, GTP decreased the levels of microbial metabolites of aromatic amino acids (AAA), including indoxyl sulfate, phenylacetylglutamine, and hippuric acid, in urine. However, it did not affect the levels of AAA, as well as other microbial metabolites, including short-chain fatty acids and secondary bile acids, in feces. 16S rRNA gene sequencing indicated that the fecal microbiome was not significantly affected by chronic consumption of GTP. Overall, microbial metabolism is responsible for the formation of GTP metabolites while GTP metabolism may inhibit the formation of AAA metabolites from microbial metabolism. Because these GTP-derived and GTP-responsive metabolites have diverse bioactivities, microbial metabolism of GTP and AAA may play important roles in the beneficial health effects of green tea consumption in humans. View Full-Text
Keywords: green tea polyphenols; metabolome; microbial metabolism; aromatic amino acids green tea polyphenols; metabolome; microbial metabolism; aromatic amino acids

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Zhou, Y.; Zhang, N.; Arikawa, A.Y.; Chen, C. Inhibitory Effects of Green Tea Polyphenols on Microbial Metabolism of Aromatic Amino Acids in Humans Revealed by Metabolomic Analysis. Metabolites 2019, 9, 96.

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