To determine the anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant effects of epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), the major polyphenol component of green tea, in human corneal epithelial cells (HCEpiC).
HCEpiC were challenged with interleukin-1β (IL-1β) for 18 h or hyperosmolarity (440 mOsm) for 24 h. Luminex technology was used to determine the effects of EGCG (0.3 – 30 µM) on IL-1β- or hyperosmolar-induced cytokine release into the medium. Cell metabolic activity was measured using the alamarBlue assay. Effects of EGCG on mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) phosphorylation were determined by cell-based enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and western blotting. Effects of EGCG on nuclear factor kappa B (NFκB) and activator protein-1 (AP-1) transcriptional activity were assessed by reporter gene assay. The effects of EGCG on glucose oxidase (GO)-induced reactive oxygen species (ROS) production was determined using the ROS probe CM-H 2DCFDA.
Treatment of HCEpiC with 1 ng/ml IL-1β for 18 h significantly increased release of the cytokines/chemokines granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF), granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF), interleukin-6 (IL-6), interleukin-8 (IL-8), and monocyte chemotactic protein-1 (MCP-1), while hyperosmolarity-induced release of IL-6 and MCP-1. When cells were treated with IL-1β and EGCG or hyperosmolarity and EGCG there was a dose-dependent reduction in release of these cytokines/chemokines, with significant inhibition observed at 3–30 µM. There was no effect of EGCG on cell metabolic activity at any of the doses tested (0.3–30 µM). EGCG significantly inhibited phosphorylation of the MAPKs p38 and c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK), and NFκB and AP-1 transcriptional activities. There was a significant dose-dependent decrease in GO-induced ROS levels after treatment of HCEpiC with EGCG.