Catechin polyphenols: neurodegeneration and neuroprotection in neurodegenerative diseases.
Free Radic Biol Med. 2004 Aug 1 ;37(3):304-17. PMID: 15223064
Neurodegeneration in Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, and other neurodegenerative diseases seems to be multifactorial, in that a complex set of toxic reactions including inflammation, glutamatergic neurotoxicity, increases in iron and nitric oxide, depletion of endogenous antioxidants, reduced expression of trophic factors, dysfunction of the ubiquitin-proteasome system, and expression of proapoptotic proteins leads to the demise of neurons. Thus, the fundamental objective in neurodegeneration and neuroprotection research is to determine which of these factors constitutes the primary event, the sequence in which these events occur, and whether they act in concurrence in the pathogenic process. This has led to the current notion that drugs directed against a single target will be ineffective and rather a single drug or cocktail of drugs with pluripharmacological properties may be more suitable. Green tea catechin polyphenols, formerly thought to be simple radical scavengers, are now considered to invoke a spectrum of cellular mechanisms of action related to their neuroprotective activity. These include pharmacological activities like iron chelation, scavenging of radicals, activation of survival genes and cell signaling pathways, and regulation of mitochondrial function and possibly of the ubiquitin-proteasome system. As a consequence these compounds are receiving significant attention as therapeutic cytoprotective agents for the treatment of neurodegenerative and other diseases.