Leading Article

Drugs & Aging

, Volume 20, Issue 10, pp 711-721

First online:

Potential Therapeutic Properties of Green Tea Polyphenols in Parkinson’s Disease

  • Tianhong PanAffiliated withDepartment of Neurology, Baylor College of Medicine
  • , Joseph JankovicAffiliated withDepartment of Neurology, Baylor College of Medicine
  • , Weidong LeAffiliated withDepartment of Neurology, Baylor College of Medicine Email author 

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Tea is one of the most frequently consumed beverages in the world. It is rich in polyphenols, a group of compounds that exhibit numerous biochemical activities. Green tea is not fermented and contains more catechins than black tea or oolong tea. Although clinical evidence is still limited, the circumstantial data from several recent studies suggest that green tea polyphenols may promote health and reduce disease occurrence, and possibly protect against Parkinson’s disease and other neurodegenerative diseases.

Green tea polyphenols have demonstrated neuroprotectant activity in cell cultures and animal models, such as the prevention of neurotoxin-induced cell injury. The biological properties of green tea polyphenols reported in the literature include antioxidant actions, free radical scavenging, iron-chelating properties, 3H-dopamine and 3H-methyl-4-phenylpyridine uptake inhibition, catechol-O-methyl-transferase activity reduction, protein kinase C or extracellular signal-regulated kinases signal pathway activation, and cell survival/cell cycle gene modulation. All of these biological effects may benefit patients with Parkinson’s disease.

Despite numerous studies in recent years, the understanding of the biological activities and health benefits of green tea polyphenols is still very limited. Further in-depth studies are needed to investigate the safety and efficacy of green tea in humans and to determine the different mechanisms of green tea in neuroprotection.