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Theaflavins isolated from black tea have been used in studies on the prevention of tumor growth. The aim of this study was to investigate whether treatment with theaflavins influences the mucus hypersecretion induced by cigarette smoke in the lungs of experimental rats. Firstly, cigarette smoke was aerosolized using a machine designed for inhalation by rats. The rats were divided into the negative control group, the cigarette smoke inhalation group, the theaflavins (TFs) treatment group, and the TFs + cigarette smoke inhalation group. The animals were sacrificed on day 60 of the experiment. Secondly, the rats were treated with theaflavins at different doses via a gastric tube and sacrificed on day 30. The changes in the levels of mucin 5AC (MUC5AC) and epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) in the airway were evaluated. Cigarette smoke induced a significant increase in the levels of MUC5AC and EGFR in all groups. These increases could be reversed by intragastric administration of theaflavins. The effect was more pronounced with the duration of treatment and coincided with a decrease in the expression of both targets. The rats showed various degrees of reduction in the expression of these parameters, which correlated with the theaflavin dose. TFs could inhibit the activation of EGFR, decrease the level of MUC5AC, and relieve airway mucous hypersecretion via the EGFR signaling pathway. These effects correlated directly with the duration of action and the dosage. In the future, oral theaflavins might be valuable in the treatment of chronic airway inflammation.
Division of Respiratory Medicine, Chongqing Third People's Hospital, Chongqing, 400014, China.
This article was published in the following journal.
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