An ancient beverage in Southeast Asia, green tea is known to boost immunity, keep the heart healthy, lower cholesterol level, and reduce risks of cancer. Now the researchers identified potential therapeutic intervention of green tea components for memory impairment, neuro-inflammation and brain insulin resistance induced by high-fat, high-fructose diet.
For the study, the researchers experimented on mice, and suggest that EGCG (epigallocatechin-3-gallate), the most abundant catechin and biologically active component in green tea, could alleviate high-fat and high-fructose (HFFD)-induced insulin resistance and cognitive impairment.
Previous research pointed to the potential of EGCG to treat a variety of human diseases, yet until now, EGCG's impact on insulin resistance and cognitive deficits triggered in the brain by a Western diet remained unclear.
"Green tea is the second most consumed beverage in the world after water and is grown in at least 30 countries," said Xuebo Liu, lead author of the study. "The ancient habit of drinking green tea may be a more acceptable alternative to medicine when it comes to combatting obesity, insulin resistance and memory impairment," Liu added.
How the Study Was Carried Out
The team divided three-month-old male C57BL/6J mice into three groups based on: a control group fed with a standard diet, a group fed with an HFFD diet, and a group fed with an HFFD diet and two grams of EGCG per liter of drinking water.
The team monitored the mice for 16 weeks and found that those fed with HFFD had a higher final body weight than the control mice, and a significantly higher final body weight than the HFFD+EGCG mice.
The HFFD+EGCG group had a significantly lower escape latency and escape distance than the HFFD group on each test day.
When the hidden platform was removed to perform a probe trial, HFFD-treated mice spent less time in the target quadrant when compared with control mice, with fewer platform crossings.
The HFFD+EGCG group exhibited a significant increase in the average time spent in the target quadrant and had greater numbers of platform crossings, showing that EGCG could improve HFFD-induced memory impairment.
The study was published in The FASEB Journal.