Green tea catechins as brain-permeable, non toxic iron chelators to “iron out iron” from the brain

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Summary

Evidence to link abnormal metal (iron, copper and zinc) metabolism and handling with Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases pathology has frequently been reported. The capacity of free iron to enhance and promote the generation of toxic reactive oxygen radicals has been discussed numerous times. Metal chelation has the potential to prevent iron-induced oxidative stress and aggregation of alpha-synuclein and beta-amyloid peptides. The efficacy of iron chelators depends on their ability to penetrate the subcellular compartments and cellular membranes where iron dependent free radicals are generated. Thus, natural, non-toxic, brain permeable neuroprotective drugs, are preferentially advocated for “ironing out iron” from those brain areas where it preferentially accumulates in neurodegenerative diseases. This review will discuss the most recent findings from in vivo and in vitro studies concerning the transitional metal (iron and copper) chelating property of green tea and its major polyphenol, (−)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate with respect to their potential for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases.