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Black tea prevents cigarette smoke-induced apoptosis and lung damage

Shuvojit Banerjee, Palas Maity, Subhendu Mukherjee, Alok K Sil, Koustubh Panda, Dhrubajyoti Chattopadhyay and Indu B Chatterjee*

Author Affiliations

Dr. B. C. Guha Centre for Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology, University College of Science, Kolkata 700019, India

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Journal of Inflammation 2007, 4:3  doi:10.1186/1476-9255-4-3

Published: 14 February 2007



Cigarette smoking is a major cause of lung damage. One prominent deleterious effect of cigarette smoke is oxidative stress. Oxidative stress may lead to apoptosis and lung injury. Since black tea has antioxidant property, we examined the preventive effect of black tea on cigarette smoke-induced oxidative damage, apoptosis and lung injury in a guinea pig model.


Guinea pigs were subjected to cigarette smoke exposure from five cigarettes (two puffs/cigarette) per guinea pig/day for seven days and given water or black tea to drink. Sham control guinea pigs were exposed to air instead of cigarette smoke. Lung damage, as evidenced by inflammation and increased air space, was assessed by histology and morphometric analysis. Protein oxidation was measured through oxyblot analysis of dinitrophenylhydrazone derivatives of the protein carbonyls of the oxidized proteins. Apoptosis was evidenced by the fragmentation of DNA using TUNEL assay, activation of caspase 3, phosphorylation of p53 as well as over-expression of Bax by immunoblot analyses.


Cigarette smoke exposure to a guinea pig model caused lung damage. It appeared that oxidative stress was the initial event, which was followed by inflammation, apoptosis and lung injury. All these pathophysiological events were prevented when the cigarette smoke-exposed guinea pigs were given black tea infusion as the drink instead of water.


Cigarette smoke exposure to a guinea pig model causes oxidative damage, inflammation, apoptosis and lung injury that are prevented by supplementation of black tea.