Compound in Green Tea Could Combat Rheumatoid Arthritis- Study

Cocoa-green-teaAre you a green tea lover? If yes, we have some good news for you! The hot, green miracle drink has already been found clinically safe and effective in improving brain function, lowering fat accumulation, reducing cancer and diabetes risk and offering many other incredible benefits.

Now, a new study has found another incredible health benefit pertaining to green tea intake. Anti-inflammatory properties of green tea could help combat arthritis.

Researchers from Washington State University (WSU) in Spokane claim to have identified a compound in green tea that they believe can fend off joint pain, inflammation and tissue damage caused by rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

Rheumatoid arthritis, commonly called RA, is the most common type of autoimmune arthritis. This chronic progressive disease can cause chronic inflammation of the small joints in hand and feet as well as other areas of the body. The condition further leads to painful swelling and inflammation that progress into cartilage damage, bone erosion and joint deformity. The disease affects women three times more than men. The current treatment for RA is available at a cost that not everyone can afford.

“Existing drugs for rheumatoid arthritis are expensive, immunosuppressive and sometimes unsuitable for long-term use,” said principal author Salah-uddin Ahmed, of the WSU College of Pharmacy.

In an attempt to find an effective yet cheaper alternative to currently available RA treatment, study leader Salah-uddin Ahmed and colleagues looked at a molecule found in abundance in green tea called epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG).

The EGCG compound belongs to class of flavanols called catechins and is known to have anti-inflammatory properties.

For the study, the researchers gave EGCG to mouse models of human RA with ankle swelling for a 10-day period. After the 10-day follow-up, the research team noticed that treatment with the compound was successful in reducing the ankle swelling remarkably.

Furthermore, the team discovered that EGCG compound reduced inflammation in RA without affecting the other cellular functions. The found the EGCG reduced the activity of TAK1, a major signaling protein through which pro-inflammatory cytokines transmit their signals to ignite the inflammation and trigger RA-induced tissue damage.

Ahmed and colleagues now believe that their findings haveopened the field of research into using EGCG for targeting TAK1.

“This study has opened the field of research into using EGCG for targeting TAK1 – an important signaling protein – through which proinflammatory cytokines transmit their signals to cause inflammation and tissue destruction in rheumatoid arthritis,” said Ahmed.

“Our findings provide a rationale for targeting TAK1 for the treatment of RA with EGCG,” the authors concluded.

The latest findings are featured on the cover of Arthritis and Rheumatology, a journal of the American College of Rheumatology, published Tuesday, Feb 16.