Green Tea Inhibits Hepatitis C Virus

Individuals receiving a liver transplant who are vulnerable to infection by Hepatitis C virus may find green tea inhibits HVC re-infection.

End stage liver disease caused by the Hepatitis C virus is the most common reason for a liver transplant, accounting for about 30 percent of liver transplant surgeries, according to a review of the research on the website Hepatitis Central.

HCV is one of the most common causes of chronic liver disease affecting 170 million people worldwide. Reservoirs of the virus outside the liver often re-infect those receiving a liver transplant.
According to German researchers the antiviral properties of EGCG (epigallocatechin-3-gallate) contained in green tea may prevent HVC re-infection.

In a paper published in the December 2011 issue of the journal Hepatology, Sandra Ciesek and Eike Steinmann from the Hannover Medical School in Germany sought relief for the substantial number of patients who do not respond to a standard treatment of interferon with ribavirin and protease inhibitors that are administered to clear the body of HVC.

“Green tea catechins such as EGCG and its derivatives epigallocatechin (EGC), epicatechingallate (ECG), and epicatechin (EC) have been shown to exhibit antiviral and anti-oncogenic properties,” Ciesek said.

“Our study further explores the potential effect these flavonoids have in preventing HCV reinfection following liver transplantation,” she said.

Results showed that unlike its derivatives, EGCG inhibits entry of HCV into liver cells. The authors suggest that EGCG may impede HCV cell entry by acting on the host cell as the green tea catechin was not found to alter the density of virus particles. Researchers also showed that EGCG inhibits viral attachment-the initial step in the HCV infection process.

“The green tea antioxidant EGCG inhibits HCV cell entry by blocking viral attachment and may offer a new approach to prevent HCV infection, particularly reinfection following liver transplantation,” according to Ciesek.

“Green tea is a beverage worthy of our attention, whether a liver transplant due to Hepatitis C infection applies or not,” writes Nicole Cutler, L.Ac. “The range of health benefits characteristic of EGCG span so many desirable areas – from lowering cholesterol to deterring cancer development to inhibiting liver disease progression – that it seems to be the obvious choice for those concerned with health preservation. However, this new research provides motivation for those with a new liver due to advanced Hepatitis C to make green tea their new, preferred beverage,” according to a review of the research by Cutler.

Source: Hepatology (December 2011); Hepatitis Central; Times of India

The green tea polyphenol, epigallocatechin-3-gallate, inhibits hepatitis C virus entry, Sandra Ciesek, et al, Hepatology,