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Study Finds Green Tea Component May Improve Memory

Last Updated: September 10, 2012.

A critical active ingredient in green tea promotes the growth of hippocampal neurons and improves memory in adult mice, according to an experimental study published in the August issue of Molecular Nutrition & Food Research.

MONDAY, Sept. 10 (HealthDay News) -- A critical active ingredient in green tea promotes the growth of hippocampal neurons and improves memory in adult mice, according to an experimental study published in the August issue of Molecular Nutrition & Food Research.

Noting that epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), the main polyphenolic constituent of green tea, has neuroprotective effects, Yanyan Wang, from the Third Military Medical University in Chongqing, China, and colleagues examined the effect of EGCG on neurons in culture and in mice.

The researchers found that EGCG significantly promoted the growth of adult hippocampal neural progenitor cells in culture and in the hippocampal dentate gyrus in mice. EGCG also significantly improved spatial cognition in mice. Further experiments showed that EGCG activated the sonic hedgehog signaling pathway, and blocking this pathway with cyclopamine reduced the ability of EGCG to promote hippocampal neurogenesis.

"We have shown that the organic chemical EGCG acts directly to increase the production of neural progenitor cells, both in glass tests and in mice," a coauthor said in a statement. "This helps us to understand the potential for EGCG, and green tea which contains it, to help combat degenerative diseases and memory loss."

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