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Green Tea Protects Neurons in the Brain: An RTRN Collaboration

Could green tea help treat and prevent neurological and neuropsychiatric disorders? According to recent findings from an RTRN collaborative project, the answer is yes.
Dr. Jesus Angulo, the CTBR’s PI/PD and professor in Hunter’s biological sciences department, along with his RTRN collaborators Dr. Karam Soliman (Florida A & M University) and Dr. Misty Eaton (Universidad Central del Caribe) found that a green tea extract (epigallocatechin gallate) abrogates the methamphetamine‐induced loss of striatal neurons in the brain. The team demonstrated this tantalizing result using an animal model employing methamphetamine, a high addictive psychostimulant, as an agent that induces the loss of neurons by apoptosis in various parts of the brain in animals and humans. This finding is significant because it suggests that the active ingredients from green tea, a natural product which is consumed by many people all over the world, has the ability to protect neurons from toxins that induce high levels of oxidative stress killing neurons in the brain. Studies in progress are investigating the mechanism by which epigallocatechin gallate protects neurons in the brain.

The groundbreaking proof‐of‐principle results from this collaboration were published in the Journal of Drug and Alcohol Research. This project was conducted with the support from an RTRN pilot project grant and the CTBR’s RCMI program grant from NIMHD/NIH (MD007599).