Tea is a popular beverage and shows very strong in vitro antioxidant activity. However, the relationship among in vitro and in vivo antioxidant activities in teas is seldom reported. In this study, in vivo antioxidant and hepatoprotective activities of 32 selected Chinese teas were evaluated on a mouse model with acute alcohol-induced liver injury. The results showed that most teas significantly reduced the levels of alanine transaminase, aspartate transaminase, alkaline phosphatase, triacylglycerol, and total bilirubin in the sera of mice at a dose of 400 mg/kg. In addition, most teas greatly decreased the malondialdehyde level and increased the levels of superoxide dismutase, glutathione peroxidase, and glutathione in the liver of mice, indicating the antioxidant and hepatoprotective activities of teas. Furthermore, the in vivo antioxidant activity of dark tea was stronger than that of green tea, opposite to the results of the in vitro study. Among these 32 teas, Black Fu Brick Tea, Pu-erh Tea, and Qing Brick Tea showed the strongest antioxidant and hepatoprotective activities. Moreover, total phenolic content as well as the contents of epicatechin, gallocatechin gallate, and chlorogenic acid were found to contribute, at least partially, to the antioxidant and hepatoprotective actions of these teas. Overall, teas are good dietary components with antioxidant and hepatoprotective actions.
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