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Epigallocatechin gallate attenuates diet-induced obesity in mice by decreasing energy absorption and increasing fat oxidation



To examine the antiobesity effect of epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), a green tea bioactive polyphenol in a mouse model of diet-induced obesity.


Obesity was induced in male New Zealand black mice by feeding of a high-fat diet. EGCG purified from green tea (TEAVIGO™) was supplemented in the diet (0.5 and 1%). Body composition (quantitative magnetic resonance), food intake, and food digestibility were recorded over a 4-week period. Animals were killed and mRNA levels of uncoupling proteins (UCP1–3), leptin, malic enzyme (ME), stearoyl-CoA desaturase-1 (SCD1), glucokinase (GK), and pyruvate kinase (PK) were analysed in different tissues. Also investigated were acute effects of orally administered EGCG (500 mg/kg) on body temperature, activity (transponders), and energy expenditure (indirect calorimetry).


Dietary supplementation of EGCG resulted in a dose-dependent attenuation of body fat accumulation. Food intake was not affected but faeces energy content was slightly increased by EGCG, indicating a reduced food digestibility and thus reduced long-term energy absorption. Leptin and SCD1 gene expression in white fat was reduced but SCD1 and UCP1 expression in brown fat was not changed. In liver, gene expression of SCD1, ME, and GK was reduced and that of UCP2 increased. Acute oral administration of EGCG over 3 days had no effect on body temperature, activity, and energy expenditure, whereas respiratory quotient during night (activity phase) was decreased, supportive of a decreased lipogenesis and increased fat oxidation.


Dietary EGCG attenuated diet-induced body fat accretion in mice. EGCG apparently promoted fat oxidation, but its fat-reducing effect could be entirely explained by its effect in reducing diet digestibility.

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We are grateful to Carola Plaue and Antje Sylvester for excellent technical assistance, and to Professor D Ricquier (Paris) and Professor H-G Joost (Potsdam) for the gift of cDNA probes. We would also like to thank two anonymous reviewers for their important input regarding the interpretation of our data.

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Correspondence to S Klaus.

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Klaus, S., Pültz, S., Thöne-Reineke, C. et al. Epigallocatechin gallate attenuates diet-induced obesity in mice by decreasing energy absorption and increasing fat oxidation. Int J Obes 29, 615–623 (2005).

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  • green tea flavonoids
  • epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG)
  • uncoupling protein
  • substrate oxidation
  • lipid metabolism

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