Rich in Antioxidants, Green Tea May Protect Against Bladder Inflammation

Issue Date: 
May 29, 2007


Green tea may protect against bladder inflammation, according to a Pitt School of Medicine study.

Green tea is rich in powerful antioxidants that make it a possible remedy for many medical conditions. It is made up of catechins—plant metabolites that provide it with many antioxidative properties.

“We discovered that catechins found in green tea protected both normal and cancerous bladder cells from inflammation when we exposed the cells to hydrogen peroxide,” said Michael B. Chancellor, a Pitt professor of urology and gynecology. “Although further studies are needed, these results indicate herbal supplements from green tea could be a treatment option for various bladder conditions that are caused by injury or inflammation.”

In the Pitt study, normal and cancerous bladder cells were exposed to two major catechin components of green tea, epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) and epicatechin gallate (ECG), for 23 hours. Both significantly protected cell lines from exposure to hydrogen peroxide, which damages or kills cells. The concentrations of EGCG and ECG used in the study were at levels that may be achieved through dietary intake.

Approximately 10 million American adults have problems controlling their bladders. Bladder disease affects both men and women and can include incontinence or interstitial cystitis, a chronic inflammatory condition that causes frequent, urgent, and painful urination and pelvic discomfort.

Pitt researchers presented their green tea study during the annual meeting of the American Urological Association in Anaheim, Calif., last week. The study was funded by the Fishbein Family CURE-IC Program.