Patients facing often-fatal medical complications associated with bone-marrow disorders may benefit from a polyphenol found in green tea, according to information released by researchers at Washington University in St. Louis.
The researchers’ paper, “Aggregation of Full Length Immunoglobulin Light Chains from AL Amyloidosis Patients Is Remodeled by Epigallocatechin-3-gallate,” was published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.
The compound epigallocatechine-3-gallate (EGCG), found in green tea, may be of particular benefit to patients with multiple myeloma myeloma, a cancer formed by malignant plasma cells, according to Jan Bieschke, assistant professor of biomedical engineering at the university’s School of Engineering & Applied Science. 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.
The university reported that the team isolated individual light chains from nine patients then ran lab experiments to determine how the green tea compound affected the light chain protein.
In the presence of the compound, the chains have a different internal structure, Bieschke said. “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.
While the team in St. Louis seeks a greater understanding of the intracellular processes involved, the university said that partners at the University of Heidelberg in Germany are running clinical trials.
“My group is looking at the mechanism of the protein in a test tube; we are studying how it works on a foundational level. At the same time, clinical trials at the Amyloidosis Center in Heidelberg, with Alzheimer’s in Berlin and with Parkinson’s in China examine the process in people. We all want this compound to work in a patient,” Bieschke said.