The research appeared in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.
Researchers from Washington University in St. Louis in the U.S. and their German collaborators found that a compound epigallocatechine-3-gallate (EGCG), a polyphenol found in green tea leaves, may be of particular benefit to patients struggling with multiple myeloma and amyloidosis, often-fatal medical complications associated with bone-marrow disorders.
“These patients are susceptible to a frequently fatal condition called light chain amyloidosis, in which parts of the body’s own antibodies become misshapen and can accumulate in various organs, including the heart and kidneys,” said study author Jan Bieschke from Washington University in St. Louis in the U.S.
“The idea here is twofold: We wanted to understand how light chain amyloidosis works and how the green tea compound affects this specific protein,” Bieschke added.
The team first isolated individual light chains from nine patients with bone marrow disorders that caused multiple myeloma or amyloidosis, then ran lab experiments to determine how the green tea compound affected the light chain protein.
The findings indicate that in bone marrow patients, the EGCG transformed light chain amyloid, preventing the misshapen form from replicating and accumulating dangerously.
“In the presence of green tea, the chains have a different internal structure, as the ECGC pulled the light chain into a different type of aggregate that wasn’t toxic and didn’t form fibril structures,” as happens to organs affected by amyloidosis,” ” Bieschke explained.