Green tea extract interferes with the formation of amyloid plaques in Alzheimer's disease

Green tea extract interferes with the formation of amyloid plaques in Alzheimer's disease

(Medical Xpress)—Researchers at the University of Michigan have found a new potential benefit of a molecule in green tea: preventing the misfolding of specific proteins in the brain.

The aggregation of these proteins, called metal-associated , is associated with Alzheimer's disease and other neurodegenerative conditions.

A paper published recently in the explained how U-M Life Sciences Institute faculty member Mi Hee Lim and an interdisciplinary team of researchers used green tea extract to control the generation of metal-associated amyloid-β aggregates associated with Alzheimer's disease in the lab.

The specific molecule in green tea, (—)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate, also known as EGCG, prevented aggregate formation and broke down existing aggregate structures in the proteins that contained metals—specifically copper, iron and zinc.

"A lot of people are very excited about this molecule," said Lim, noting that the EGCG and other flavonoids in natural products have long been established as powerful antioxidants. "We used a multidisciplinary approach. This is the first example of structure-centric, multidisciplinary investigations by three with three different areas of expertise."

The research team included chemists, biochemists and biophysicists.

While many researchers are investigating small molecules and metal-associated amyloids, most are looking from a limited perspective, said Lim, assistant professor of chemistry and research assistant professor at the Life Sciences Institute, where her lab is located and her research is conducted.

"But we believe you have to have a lot of approaches working together, because the brain is very complex," she said.

The PNAS paper was a starting point, Lim said, and her team's next step is to "tweak" the molecule and then test its ability to interfere with in fruit flies.

"We want to modify them for the brain, specifically to interfere with the plaques associated with Alzheimer's," she said.

Lim plans to collaborate with Bing Ye, a neurobiologist in the LSI. Together, the researchers will test the new molecule's power to inhibit potential toxicity of aggregates containing proteins and metals in .

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More information: … /1220326110.abstract
Citation: Green tea extract interferes with the formation of amyloid plaques in Alzheimer's disease (2013, March 5) retrieved 22 October 2019 from
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Mar 06, 2013
Sounds promising & especially of significant interest as the bulk of people on a western diet are deficient in Zn (though being addressed by additives) but seriously deficient in Cu (not being addressed by additives except sometimes in baby food). Cu essential for the functionality of 'Ferroxidase' so that Fe can be properly metabolised.

What is not clear re metalloid proteins in respect of Cu, Zn, Fe especially Cu/Zn is, if metabolism collects & sequesters into the brain to enforce the classic immune response of creating peroxide to attack the offending plaques or a genetic/environmental/other trigger causes such agglomeration of metals as a typical immune system over-reaction if there are (already) sufficient metals in the diet. My Food Science hypothesis of 2010 leans to the former but doesnt preclude aspects of the latter.

Which particular green teas from which regions (soils ?) & what sort of processing Eg, part fermentation, drying, bacterial/fungal effects etc ?

Mar 11, 2013
The EGCG in green tea is from leaves which have had minimal oxidization, according to:
The wiki says ECGC is not present in ordinary black tea.


I'm wondering if this compound can be found in useful quantities in other plants, say Labrador Tea?

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