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Free Radic Res. 2011 Aug;45(8):966-74. doi: 10.3109/10715762.2011.566869. Epub 2011 Mar 22.

Theanine intake improves the shortened lifespan, cognitive dysfunction and behavioural depression that are induced by chronic psychosocial stress in mice.

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Laboratory of Bioorganic Chemistry, School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Shizuoka, Shizuoka, Japan.


To evaluate the psychosocial effect on lifespan and cognitive function, this study investigated the effect of confrontational housing on mice because conflict among male mice is a psychosocial stress. In addition, it investigated the anti-stress effect of theanine (γ-glutamylethylamide), an amino acid in tea. Mice were housed under confrontation. That is, two male mice were separately housed in the same cage with a partition for establishing the territorial imperative in each mouse. Then, the partition was removed and mice were co-housed confrontationally (confront-housing) using a model mouse of accelerated-senescence (SAMP10) that exhibited cerebral atrophy and cognitive dysfunction with ageing. It was found that mice began to die earlier under confront-housing than group-housed control mice. Additionally, it was found that cerebral atrophy, learning impairment and behavioural depression were higher in mice under the stressed condition of confront-housing than age-matched mice under group-housing. Furthermore, the level of oxidative damage in cerebral DNA was higher in mice housed confrontationally than group-housed control mice. On the other hand, the consumption of purified theanine (20 μg/ml, 5-6 mg/kg) suppressed the shortened lifespan, cerebral atrophy, learning impairment, behavioural depression and oxidative damage in cerebral DNA. These results suggest that psychosocial stress accelerates age-related alterations such as oxidative damage, lifespan, cognitive dysfunction and behavioural depression. The intake of theanine might be a potential candidate for suppression of disadvantage under psychosocial stress.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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