International Journal of Molecular Sciences (Apr 2019)

The Effects of Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG) on Pulmonary Fibroblasts of Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF)—A Next-Generation Sequencing and Bioinformatic Approach

  • Ming-Ju Tsai,
  • Wei-An Chang,
  • Ssu-Hui Liao,
  • Kuo-Feng Chang,
  • Chau-Chyun Sheu,
  • Po-Lin Kuo

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 20, no. 8
p. 1958


Read online

Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a disabling and lethal chronic progressive pulmonary disease. Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) is a polyphenol, which is the major biological component of green tea. The anti-oxidative, anti-inflammatory, and anti-fibrotic effects of EGCG have been shown in some studies, whereas its effects in altering gene expression in pulmonary fibroblasts have not been systematically investigated. This study aimed to explore the effect of EGCG on gene expression profiles in fibroblasts of IPF. The pulmonary fibroblasts from an IPF patient were treated with either EGCG or water, and the expression profiles of mRNAs and microRNAs were determined by next-generation sequencing (NGS) and analyzed with the bioinformatics approach. A total of 61 differentially expressed genes and 56 differentially expressed microRNAs were found in EGCG-treated IPF fibroblasts. Gene ontology analyses revealed that the differentially expressed genes were mainly involved in the biosynthetic and metabolic processes of cholesterol. In addition, five potential altered microRNA–mRNA interactions were found, including hsa-miR-939-5p–PLXNA4, hsa-miR-3918–CTIF, hsa-miR-4768-5p–PDE5A, hsa-miR-1273g-3p–VPS53, and hsa-miR-1972–PCSK9. In summary, differentially expressed genes and microRNAs in response to EGCG treatment in IPF fibroblasts were identified in the current study. Our findings provide a scientific basis to evaluate the potential benefits of EGCG in IPF treatment, and warrant future studies to understand the role of molecular pathways underlying cholesterol homeostasis in the pathogenesis of IPF.