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Expert Opin Drug Discov. 2011 Jun;6(6):589-595.

Green Tea Polyphenols in drug discovery - a success or failure?

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  • 1Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, 975 North Warson Road, Saint Louis, MO 63132 USA, Tel: (314)-587-1451.


Green tea is made from unfermented dried leaves from Camellia sinensis and has been consumed by humans for thousands of years. For nearly as long, it has been used as a folk remedy for a wide array of diseases. More recently, a large number of in-vitro and in-vivo scientific studies have supported this ancient contention that the polyphenols from green tea can provide a number of health benefits. Since these compounds are clearly safe for human consumption and ubiquitous in the food supply, they are highly attractive as lead compounds for drug discovery programs. However, as drugs, they are far from optimum. They are relatively unstable, poorly absorbed, and readily undergo a number of metabolic transformations by intestinal microbiota and human enzymes. Further, since these compounds target a wide array of biological systems, in-vivo testing is rather difficult since effects on alternative pathways need to be carefully eliminated. The purpose of this review is to discuss some of the challenges and benefits of pursuing this family of compounds for drug discovery.

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