Sunrouge is an anthocyanin-rich, new tea cultivar that contains similar levels of catechins as Yabukita, the most popular tea cultivar consumed in Japan. Interestingly, Sunrouge preparations have previously been shown to have more pronounced acetylcholinesterase inhibitory and anticolitis activities than those of Yabukita. In this study, we examined their effects on expressions of self-defensive molecules, including heat shock proteins (HSPs), which are molecular chaperones involved in homeostasis and longevity. Hot water extract from freeze-dried Sunrouge significantly upregulated messenger RNA (mRNA) expressions of HSP40, HSP70, and HSP32 (heme oxygenase-1), with grades greater than those shown by Yabukita. Oral administration of freeze-dried preparation of Sunrouge to male ICR mice at a dose of 1% in the basal diet for 1 month resulted in marked upregulations of several HSP mRNA expressions in mucosa from the gastrointestinal tract, especially the upper small intestine. Again, its efficacy was remarkably higher than that of Yabukita. Moreover, exposure of Caenorhabditis elegans to Sunrouge conferred thermoresistant phenotype, and also resulted in a significant life-span elongation. Taken together, our results suggest that Sunrouge is a unique and promising tea cultivar for regulating self-defense systems. © 2015, Food and Drug Administration, Taiwan. Published by Elsevier Taiwan LLC. All rights reserved.

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