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Green Tea Compound may Be a Therapy for Rheumatoid Arthritis

), which also are actively involved in causing in the joints of people with rheumatoid arthritis.

When untreated cells were stimulated with IL-1?ò, a sequence of molecular events occurred that resulted in production of the bone-destructive molecules. But the scientists found that pre-incubation with EGCG was capable of inhibiting the production of these molecules. EGCG also inhibited the production of prostaglandin E2, a hormone-like substance that causes inflammation in the joints.

The cell signaling pathways that regulate levels of these immune system molecules under both normal and rheumatoid arthritis situations are well studied, and the researchers were able to trace the effects of the green tea compound infusion to see that it worked by inhibiting these pathways.

Ahmed says that these studies suggest that EGCG or molecules that could be derived synthetically from the EGCG found in green tea may be of therapeutic value by inhibiting the joint destruction in rheumatoid arthritis.

Previously, Ahmed and other researchers made another promising finding when EGCG-pretreated synovial fibroblasts were stimulated with the cytokine IL-1?ò to study the protective effect of this green tea compound. Compared to untreated synovial fibroblasts, the cells treated with EGCG markedly blocked the ability of IL-1?ò to produce the proteins and enzymes that infiltrate the joints of persons with rheumatoid arthritis and cause cartilage degradation.

The laboratory now is focused on the inhibitory role of EGCG in gene expression. The scientists plan to test EGCG in animal models of rheumatoid arthritis to see if it provides similar therapeutic or preventive effects. Ahmed believes that the outcome of these studies will form a strong foundation for future testing of green tea compound in humans with rheumatoid arthritis.

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