Background and Objective: Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) is known for its beneficial properties, including anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative activities. Recently, reports have suggested that EGCG plays a pivotal role in regulating cytokine expression and osteoclastic activity. In the present study, we investigated whether orally administered EGCG has a therapeutic effect on ligature-induced periodontitis. Materials and Methods: Forty-eight Sprague-Dawley rats were treated with EGCG or phosphate-buffered saline. Periodontitis was induced by tying a ligature for 7 d. After removing ligation, EGCG (200 mg/kg) or phosphate-buffered saline was administered via oral gavage on a daily basis. Rats were killed after 1, 2 and 4 wk of administration. Histologic and histomorphometric analyses, tartrate resistant acid phosphatase staining and immunohistochemistry were carried out. Results: In the control group, bone loss did not recover even after the causative factor of periodontitis was eliminated. On the other hand, distance from cemento-enamel junction to alveolar bone crest, long junctional epithelium and collagen destruction were reduced in the EGCG group. Decreased interleukin (IL)-6 expression was shown from the early stage of EGCG administration, followed by reduced tumor necrosis factor (TNF) expression at week 4 EGCG group. The CT area showed a higher decrease of IL-6 expression between the control and EGCG group than alveolar bone area. Downregulation of TNF and IL-6 expression led to a decrease in osteoclast number and activity, which resulted in reduced bone loss. Conclusions: Systemic administration of EGCG could have a therapeutic effect on damaged periodontal tissue. Inhibited cytokine expression, including TNF and IL-6 is responsible for the reduction in osteoclast formation, osteoclastic activity and collagen destruction.
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