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Pharmacokinetics and Biotransformation of Tea Polyphenols

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Tea is an infusion of the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant and is the most widely consumed beverage in the world after water. The main chemical components in teas are phenolic compounds (tea polyphenols, mainly tea catechins). A large number of in vitro and in vivo scientific studies have supported that the tea polyphenols can provide a number of health benefits such as, reducing the incidence of coronary heart disease, diabetes and cancer. Recently, tea polyphenols have proven highly attractive as lead compounds for drug discovery programs. A clear understanding of chemistry, stability, pharmacokinetics and metabolic fate of tea will be significant to elucidate many medicinal effects by biochemical theory and pharmaceutical development. This article reviews the current literature on the pharmacoknetics and biotransformation of tea catechins. The half-lives of tea polyphenols are 2-4h and their absorption and elimination are rapid in humans. The peak times (tmax) are 1 and 3 h after oral administration and the peak plasma concentrations are low μM range. It has been reported that catechins are easily metabolized by enzyme and microbe, and the main metabolic pathways are methylation, glucuronidation, sulfation, ring-fission metabolism, and so on. The information is important to discuss some of the challenges and benefits of pursuing this family of compounds for drug discovery.
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Keywords: Biotransformation; metabolite; pharmacokinetics; tea polyphenols

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2014

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  • Current Drug Metabolism aims to cover all the latest and outstanding developments in drug metabolism and disposition. The journal serves as an international forum for the publication of timely reviews in drug metabolism. Current Drug Metabolism is an essential journal for academic, clinical, government and pharmaceutical scientists who wish to be kept informed and up-to-date with the latest and most important developments. The journal covers the following areas:

    In vitro systems including CYP-450; enzyme induction and inhibition; drug-drug interactions and enzyme kinetics; pharmacokinetics, toxicokinetics, species scaling and extrapolations; P-glycoprotein and transport carriers; target organ toxicity and interindividual variability; drug metabolism and disposition studies; extrahepatic metabolism; phase I and phase II metabolism; recent developments for the identification of drug metabolites and adducts.
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