(-)-Epigallocatechin-3-O-(3-O-methyl) gallate (1, EGCG3″Me), an antiallergic O-methylated catechin, is present in high quantities in the green tea cultivar "Benifuuki"(Camellia sinensis L.). Previous studies have shown that EGCG3″Me inhibited basophil degranulation mediated through the cell-surface 67-kDa laminin receptor (67LR), but the mechanisms are not fully elucidated. This study aimed to investigate the mechanisms underlying the inhibitory effect of EGCG3″Me on IgE/antigen (Ag)-mediated degranulation and the combined effect of EGCG3″Me with eriodictyol (2), a bioactive flavanone. EGCG3″Me inhibited β-hexosaminidase release from the rat basophilic/mast cell line RBL-2H3 stimulated by IgE/Ag and induced acid sphingomyelinase (ASM) activity. This induction was inhibited by anti-67LR antibody treatment. The ASM-specific inhibitor desipramine inhibited EGCG3″Me-induced suppression of degranulation. The soluble guanylate cyclase (sGC) inhibitor NS2028 weakened the potency of EGCG3″Me, and the sGC activator BAY41-2272 suppressed degranulation. The ability of EGCG3″Me to induce ASM activity and inhibit degranulation was amplified by eriodictyol. Furthermore, oral administration of the lemon-peel-derived eriodyctiol-7-O-glucoside (3) potentiated the suppressive effect of EGCG3″Me-rich "Benifuuki"green tea on the IgE/Ag-induced passive cutaneous anaphylaxis (PCA) reaction in BALB/c mice. These results suggest that EGCG3″Me inhibits IgE/Ag-mediated degranulation by inducing the 67LR/sGC/ASM signaling pathway, and eriodictyol amplifies this signaling.
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