October 1, 2014


The power of scientific research opens up to new possibilities …


The epigallocatechin-3-gallate (Egcg, abbreviated), is a molecule contained within the leaves of Green Tea, which could give new hopes to those affected by Down Syndrome but also to cancer patients.


Although the cause of the Down Syndrome has been identified as the presence of a third pair of chromosome 21, scientific research has not yet identified all the molecular mechanisms through which this genetic alteration determines the set of signs and symptoms of the disease. What is known is that Down Syndrome, but also cancer, causes in patients an increase in oxidative stress and an impairment of mitochondrial function, which are determining factors for the onset of cognitive deficits.


And it is just a simple molecule of natural origin that opens up new possibilities for scientific research.

The new hopes are born in Italy, where a group of researchers from the Institute of Biomembranes and Bioenergetics of the National Research Council of Bari (Ibbe-Cnr), has studied the effects of Epigallocatechin-3-gallate on the isolated tissues of Down subjects.

It has been observed that the molecule, extracted from Green Tea, is able to counteract oxidative stress and increase the number of mitochondria, with a return to functionality similar to that of healthy cells.

These effects are of fundamental importance as they would alleviate the degenerative effects of Down Syndrome.

As the researchers explain, mitochondria represent the “energy center” of cells and are fundamental structures for their correct functionality and for the carrying out of innumerable cellular processes. The study was conducted by taking tissues from healthy subjects and those suffering from Down Syndrome. Even on healthy subjects, epigallocatechin-3-gallate showed positive effects on mitochondrial genesis (increase in the number of mitochondria).

This molecule, already known, among other things for its anti-inflammatory properties and also identified in other plant species (for example in the Fennel), has already been tested on man, for its effects on tumors.

From the studies carried out, several actions have been highlighted, among which the blocking of carcinogenesis and therefore of the proliferation of tumor cells.


The study carried out by the Bari researchers, published in the “Biochimica et Biophysica Acta-Molecular Basis of Disease” journal, could have relevant clinical applications in the near future.


 The discovery of the efficacy of Egcg in counteracting the degenerations caused by oxidative stress and mitochondrial impairment, could be useful to mitigate the onset of some serious clinical manifestations of Down Syndrome and tumors. This molecule, certainly does not promise miracles, but it could help improve the lives of patients.  



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