A recent article in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences showed how 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.
Faculty member Mi Hee Lim and an interdisciplinary team of researchers used green tea extract to control the generation of metal associated amyloid 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 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 principal investigators with three different areas of expertise.” (Proc. Natl Acad. Sci., 2013 March 5;110(10):3743-8)