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Psychiatry Clin Neurosci. 2014 May;68(5):337-43. doi: 10.1111/pcn.12134. Epub 2013 Dec 25.

Effect of L-theanine on sensorimotor gating in healthy human subjects.

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Department of Mental Disorder Research, National Institute of Neuroscience, National Center of Neurology and Psychiatry, Tokyo, Japan.



l-Theanine (N-ethyl-l-glutamine) is an amino acid uniquely found in green tea. Growing evidence has suggested the possible effects of l-theanine on cognition. Previously, we found that l-theanine attenuates MK-801-induced deficit in prepulse inhibition (PPI) in mice. In this study, we examined the effect of l-theanine in increasing the PPI in healthy humans.


The subjects were 14 healthy adults who underwent PPI testing as a measure of sensorimotor gating 90 min after an oral intake of l-theanine (0, 200, 400, or 600 mg). PPI tests were done by examiners who were blind to the dose.


The administration of 200 mg of l-theanine and that of 400 mg, but not 600 mg, significantly increased the % PPI compared to the baseline (0 mg). There was no significant relation between the dose of l-theanine and the startle magnitude or the habituation of startle response. The plasma concentrations of l-theanine correlated with the dose of l-theanine.


The observed effect with 200-400 mg of l-theanine on PPI suggested that l-theanine at a particular dose range increases sensorimotor gating in humans.


N-methyl-D-aspartate; glutamine; l-theanine (N-ethyl-l-glutamine); prepulse inhibition; sensorimotor gating

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