We recently showed that the long-term in vivo administration of green tea catechin extract (GTE) resulted in hyperdynamic cardiomyocyte contractility. The present study investigates the mechanisms underlying GTE action in comparison to its major component, epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), given at the equivalent amount that would be in the entirety of GTE. Twenty-six male Wistar rats were given 40 mL/day of a tap water solution with either standardized GTE or pure EGCG for 4 weeks. Cardiomyocytes were then isolated for the study. Cellular bioenergetics was found to be significantly improved in both GTE- and EGCG-fed rats compared to that in controls as shown by measuring the maximal mitochondrial respiration rate and the cellular ATP level. Notably, the improvement of mitochondrial function was associated with increased levels of oxidative phosphorylation complexes, whereas the cellular mitochondrial mass was unchanged. However, only the GTE supplement improved cardiomyocyte mechanics and intracellular calcium dynamics, by lowering the expression of total phospholamban (PLB), which led to an increase of both the phosphorylated-PLB/PLB and the sarco-endoplasmic reticulum calcium ATPase/PLB ratios. Our findings suggest that GTE might be a valuable adjuvant tool for counteracting the occurrence and/or the progression of cardiomyopathies in which mitochondrial dysfunction and alteration of intracellular calcium dynamics constitute early pathogenic factors.
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