Protective effects of tea polyphenols on exhaustive exercise-induced fatigue, inflammation and tissue damage

  • Lixia Liu
  • Xiuqin Wu
  • Bingchen Zhang
  • Wei Yang
  • Daliang Li
  • Yanqiu Dong
  • Yujiao Yin
  • Qi Chen
Keywords: Green tea, lactic acid, pro-inflammatory factors, mRNA expression, anti-inflammatory effects


Background : The beneficial properties of tea polyphenols have been extensively studied; however, less attention has been paid to their effects, especially anti-inflammatory effect during exhaustive exercise.

Objective : The present study assessed the potential protective effects of tea polyphenols against the fatigue, inflammation and tissue injury caused by an exhaustive exercise bout in rats.

Design : Twenty-four healthy male rats were divided into three groups. Group C was a sedentary control group, Groups E+TP and Group E performed a single exhaustive swimming test; all groups had normal diets, but Group E+TP was supplemented with tea polyphenols. All rats were immediately euthanized after exhaustive exercise, and biochemical and inflammatory parameters, including lactic acid (LA), tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), interleukin-1β (IL-1β), interleukin-6 (IL-6), interleukin-10 (IL-10), lactic dehydrogenase (LDH), and creatine kinase (CK) activity levels, were measured. Reverse transcription (RT) and Real-Time PCR was employed to evaluate the mRNA expression of IL-1β in the liver.

Results : The results showed a decrease in serum LA levels (22%, p < 0.05) in rats that consumed dietary tea polyphenols. Interestingly, dietary tea polyphenols decreased the serum levels of pro-inflammatory factors (TNF-α: 13%, p < 0.05; IL-1β: 10%, p < 0.05; and IL-6: 48%, p < 0.05) and shifted the serum IL-10/TNF-α ratio to a predominantly anti-inflammatory milieu (0.52 ± 0.07 vs. 0.67 ± 0.10, p < 0.01). Furthermore, the polyphenols effectively inhibited the release of tissue damage markers (CK: 24%, p < 0.05 and LDH: 28%, p < 0.05) in the serum and decreased IL-1β mRNA expression in the liver.

Conclusions : This study indicated that tea polyphenols could significantly protect rats from the fatigue, inflammation and tissue damage induced by acute exhaustive exercise.


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How to Cite
Liu L., Wu X., Zhang B., Yang W., Li D., Dong Y., Yin Y., & Chen Q. (2017). Protective effects of tea polyphenols on exhaustive exercise-induced fatigue, inflammation and tissue damage. Food & Nutrition Research, 61. Retrieved from
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