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J Neurosci Res. 2004 Sep 15;77(6):892-900.

Protective effect of green tea polyphenol EGCG against neuronal damage and brain edema after unilateral cerebral ischemia in gerbils.

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Department of Neurology, School of Medicine, Keimyung University, Taegu, South Korea.


Previous studies have demonstrated that a green tea polyphenol, (-)-epigallocatechine gallate (EGCG), has a potent free radical scavenging and antioxidant effect. Glutamate leads to excitotoxicity and oxidative stress, which are important pathophysiologic responses to cerebral ischemia resulting in brain edema and neuronal damage. We investigated the effect of EGCG on excitotoxic neuronal damage in a culture system and the effect on brain edema formation and lesion after unilateral cerebral ischemia in gerbils. In vitro, excitotoxicity was induced by 24-hr incubation with N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA; 10 microM), AMPA (10 microM), or kainate (20 microM). EGCG (5 microM) was added to the culture media alone or with excitotoxins. We examined malondialdehyde (MDA) level and neuronal viability to evaluate the effect of EGCG. In vivo, unilateral cerebral ischemia was induced by occlusion of the right common carotid artery for 30, 60, or 90 min and followed by reperfusion of 24 hr. Brain edema, MDA, and infarction were examined to evaluate the protective effect of EGCG. EGCG (25 or 50 mg/kg, intraperitoneally) was administered twice, at 30 min before and immediately after ischemia. EGCG reduced excitotoxin-induced MDA production and neuronal damage in the culture system. In the in vivo study, treatment of gerbils with the lower EGCG dose failed to show neuroprotective effects; however, the higher EGCG dose attenuated the increase in MDA level caused by cerebral ischemia. EGCG also reduced the formation of postischemic brain edema and infarct volume. These results demonstrate EGCG may have future possibilities as a neuroprotective agent against excitotoxicity-related neurologic disorders such as brain ischemia.

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