Theaflavins are polyphenols found in black tea, whose physiological activities are not well understood. This study on mice evaluated the influence of a single oral administration of theaflavins on energy metabolism by monitoring the initial metabolic changess in skeletal muscle and brown adipose tissue (BAT). Oxygen consumption (VO2) and energy expenditure (EE) were increased significantly in mice treated with theaflavin rich fraction (TF) compared with the group administered vehicle alone. There was no difference in locomotor activity. Fasting mice were euthanized under anesthesia before and 2 and 5, 20-hr after treatment with TF or vehicle. The mRNA levels of uncoupling protein-1 (UCP-1) and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma coactivator-1α (PGC-1α) in BAT were increased significantly 2-hr after administration of TF. The levels of UCP-3 and PGC-1α in the gastrocnemius muscle were increased significantly 2 and 5-hr after administration of TF. The concentration of phosphorylated AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) 1α was also increased significantly in the gastrocnemius 2 and 5-hr after treatment with TF. These results indicate that TF significantly enhances systemic energy expenditure, as evidenced by an increase in expression of metabolic genes.
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