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Influence of tea drinking on manganese intake, manganese status and leucocyte expression of MnSOD and cytosolic aminopeptidase P



Since black tea contains high levels of manganese (Mn), we investigated the relationship between dietary Mn intake, circulating Mn levels and leucocyte expression of two Mn-dependent enzymes in tea drinkers and non-tea drinkers.


We assessed Mn intakes (food frequency questionnaire), fasting whole blood and plasma Mn levels, and quantitative expression of peripheral blood mononuclear cell Mn-dependent superoxide dismutase (MnSOD) and cytosolic aminopeptidase-P (cAP-P).

Setting and subjects:

In total, 24 tea drinkers (1 l black tea/day) and 28 non-tea drinkers were recruited from the staff and students of King's College London by circular email.


Dietary Mn intakes (mean (range)) were significantly lower (P<0.0001) in non tea drinkers (3.2 mg/day (0.5–6.5)) than tea drinkers (5.5 mg/day (2–12) or 10 mg/day (5–20) depending upon the value used for Mn levels of black tea). Whole blood, plasma Mn levels and expression of MnSOD and cAP-P did not differ between the groups. In a continuous analysis, whole blood Mn levels and expression of MnSOD correlated inversely but no other parameters associated with each other.


Tea drinking is a major source of dietary Mn and intakes commonly exceed proposed adequate intake values of 1.8–2.3 mg Mn/day and, on occasion, exceed upper limits of 10–11 mg/day. Dietary Mn intake has little influence on markers of Mn status or expression of Mn-dependent enzymes. Fasting whole blood Mn levels and leucocyte expression of MnSOD could, together, be further investigated as markers of Mn status.


S-JH was supported through the EPSRC PTP scheme. Running costs were from the UK Technical Tea Trade Association.

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We gratefully acknowledge the support of the EPSRC through the EPSRC PTP initiative with WRc-NSF and London University (S-JH) as well as the UK Technical Tea Trade Association for financial support of the running costs. We are also grateful to Professor Sir Richard Thompson for his continuing advice and support and to Dr Peter Milligan for statistical advice and Drs Sylvaine Bruggraber, Dora Pereira and Chris Thane for helpful comments on the manuscript. We also thank the MRC London Iron Metabolism Group, especially Dr Kaila Srai and his research team, for advice on and use of the Real Time PCR. None of the authors had any affiliation with, or financial or personal interest in, the organizations sponsoring the research.

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Correspondence to J J Powell.

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Guarantor: JJ Powell.

Contributors: JJP is a nutritional scientist and he devised the overall study with help from KLG (nutritionist). KD is a molecular biologist and he devised and undertook the preparation of RNA/cDNA and the PCR analysis with help from S-JH (PhD student) and JJP. MN is a nutritional epidemiologist and he devised and advised on the FFQ including its administration and analysis, which were undertaken by S-JH with help on the administration from KLG. S-JH and SC (analytical chemist) devised the methodology for and undertook all Mn analyses. S-JH and KLG recruited and venesected the volunteers. S-JH prepared the blood, plasma and white cells. All authors contributed to data analysis, which was coordinated by JJP. All authors contributed to the writing and the editing of the manuscript, which was coordinated by SJ-H and JJP.

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Hope, SJ., Daniel, K., Gleason, K. et al. Influence of tea drinking on manganese intake, manganese status and leucocyte expression of MnSOD and cytosolic aminopeptidase P. Eur J Clin Nutr 60, 1–8 (2006).

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  • manganese
  • intake
  • status
  • tea
  • superoxide dismutase
  • cytosolic aminopeptidase P

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