A compound in green tea appears to provide therapeutic benefits to people with rheumatoid arthritis, suggests a study from the University of Michigan Health System. Presenting their findings at the Experimental Biology conference, the researchers said that the potent anti-inflammatory compound inhibited the production of molecules in the immune system that contribute to inflammation and joint damage in people with rheumatoid arthritis.
The compound, known as epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), showed a great deal of promise as a therapy for the joint destruction experienced by people who have rheumatoid arthritis, writes lead researcher Salah-uddin Ahmed.
The study involved looking at whether the compound has the capability to block the activity of two potent molecules, IL-6 and cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), which are actively involved in causing bone erosion in the joints of people with rheumatoid arthritis.
The cell signaling pathways that regulate levels of these molecules under both normal and rheumatoid arthritis situations are well studied, and the researchers were able to trace the effects of the green tea compound infusion to see that it worked by inhibiting these pathways.
Ahmed said his research was now focused on the inhibitory role of EGCG in gene expression and the testing of EGCG in animal models of rheumatoid arthritis to see if it provides similar therapeutic effects. The outcome of these studies will form a strong foundation for future testing of green tea compound in humans with rheumatoid arthritis.
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Source: University of Michigan Health System