Green tea component protects heart cells

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Tuesday, March 1, 2005

UKGreen tea may protect against damage from heart attack and stroke.

Researchers from the UK Institute of Child Health have shown that a chemical in the tea reduces cell death following such incidents, which in turn could fight tissue death and organ failure.

Led by Anastasis Stephanou, the researchers showed in heart cells that the chemical epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) inhibits cell death, apparently by blocking the action of a protein called Star 1.

This protein is activated in cells after a stressful event and contributes to inducing cell death.

EGCG also appears to speed recovery of heart cells to spur tissue recovery.

Stephanou says that while the researchers are "extremely encouraged" by the findings, more research is necessary before people are advised to drink green tea after heart attack or stroke.

The research is reported in The FASEB Journal.