Metabolomics-Driven Nutraceutical Evaluation of Diverse Green Tea Cultivars

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Metabolomics-Driven Nutraceutical Evaluation of Diverse Green Tea Cultivars

  • Yoshinori Fujimura
  • Kana Kurihara
  • Megumi Ida
  • Reia Kosaka
  • Daisuke Miura
  • Hiroyuki Wariishi
  • Mari Maeda-Yamamoto
  • Atsushi Nesumi
  • Takeshi Saito
  • Tomomasa Kanda
  • Koji Yamada
  • Hirofumi Tachibana
  • Baohong Zhang
Public Library of Science
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0023426


Background Green tea has various health promotion effects. Although there are numerous tea cultivars, little is known about the differences in their nutraceutical properties. Metabolic profiling techniques can provide information on the relationship between the metabolome and factors such as phenotype or quality. Here, we performed metabolomic analyses to explore the relationship between the metabolome and health-promoting attributes (bioactivity) of diverse Japanese green tea cultivars. Methodology/Principal Findings We investigated the ability of leaf extracts from 43 Japanese green tea cultivars to inhibit thrombin-induced phosphorylation of myosin regulatory light chain (MRLC) in human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs). This thrombin-induced phosphorylation is a potential hallmark of vascular endothelial dysfunction. Among the tested cultivars, Cha Chuukanbohon Nou-6 (Nou-6) and Sunrouge (SR) strongly inhibited MRLC phosphorylation. To evaluate the bioactivity of green tea cultivars using a metabolomics approach, the metabolite profiles of all tea extracts were determined by high-performance liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS). Multivariate statistical analyses, principal component analysis (PCA) and orthogonal partial least-squares-discriminant analysis (OPLS-DA), revealed differences among green tea cultivars with respect to their ability to inhibit MRLC phosphorylation. In the SR cultivar, polyphenols were associated with its unique metabolic profile and its bioactivity. In addition, using partial least-squares (PLS) regression analysis, we succeeded in constructing a reliable bioactivity-prediction model to predict the inhibitory effect of tea cultivars based on their metabolome. This model was based on certain identified metabolites that were associated with bioactivity. When added to an extract from the non-bioactive cultivar Yabukita, several metabolites enriched in SR were able to transform the extract into a bioactive extract. Conclusions/Significance Our findings suggest that metabolic profiling is a useful approach for nutraceutical evaluation of the health promotion effects of diverse tea cultivars. This may propose a novel strategy for functional food design.

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