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Animal Models

Green tea reduces body fat via upregulation of neprilysin



Consumption of green tea has become increasingly popular, particularly because of claimed reduction in body weight. We recently reported that animals with pharmacological inhibition (by candoxatril) or genetic absence of the endopeptidase neprilysin (NEP) develop an obese phenotype. We now investigated the effect of green tea extract (in drinking water) on body weight and body composition and the mediating role of NEP.


To elucidate the role of NEP in mediating the beneficial effects of green tea extract, ‘Berlin fat mice’ or NEP-deficient mice and their age- and gender-matched wild-type controls received the extract in two different doses (300 or 600 mg kg−1 body weight per day) in the drinking water.


In ‘Berlin fat mice’, 51 days of green tea treatment did not only prevent fat accumulation (control: day 0: 30.5% fat, day 51: 33.1%; NS) but also reduced significant body fat (green tea: day 0: 27.8%, day 51: 20.9%, P<0.01) and body weight below the initial levels. Green tea reduced food intake. This was paralleled by a selective increase in peripheral (in kidney 17%, in intestine 92%), but not central NEP expression and activity, leading to downregulation of orexigens (like galanin and neuropeptide Y (NPY)) known to be physiological substrates of NEP. Consequently, in NEP-knockout mice, green tea extract failed to reduce body fat/weight.


Our data generate experimental proof for the assumed effects of green tea on body weight and the key role for NEP in such process, and thus open a new avenue for the treatment of obesity.

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The research has been supported by grants from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG; WA1441/18-1, SI483/8-1; WA1441/18-2, SI483/8-2). The authors thank Frutarom for providing the green tea extract free of charge. Furthermore, the intense discussions with Professor Stephen Atkin (Hull York Medical School) and the technical support by Esther-Pia Jansen, Bettina Kahlich, and Stephanie Führl are greatly appreciated.

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Correspondence to T Walther.

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Muenzner, M., Tappenbeck, N., Gembardt, F. et al. Green tea reduces body fat via upregulation of neprilysin. Int J Obes 40, 1850–1855 (2016).

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