Amyloid beta (Abeta)-induced neurotoxicity is a major pathological mechanism of Alzheimer disease (AD). In this study, we investigated the inhibitory effect of l-theanine, a component of green tea (Camellia sinensis), on Abeta(1-42)-induced neuronal cell death and memory impairment. Oral treatment of l-theanine (2 and 4 mg/kg) for 5 weeks in the drinking water of mice, followed by injection of Abeta(1-42) (2 microg/mouse, icv), significantly attenuated Abeta(1-42)-induced memory impairment. Furthermore, l-theanine reduced Abeta(1-42) levels and the accompanying Abeta(1-42)-induced neuronal cell death in the cortex and hippocampus of the brain. Moreover, l-theanine inhibited Abeta(1-42)-induced extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) and p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase as well as the activity of nuclear factor kappaB (NF-kappaB). l-Theanine also significantly reduced oxidative protein and lipid damage and the elevation of glutathione levels in the brain. These data suggest that the positive effects of l-theanine on memory may be mediated by suppression of ERK/p38 and NF-kappaB as well as the reduction of macromolecular oxidative damage. Thus, l-theanine may be useful in the prevention and treatment of AD.
Kim TI, Lee YK, Park SG, Choi IS, Ban JO, Park HK, Nam SY, Yun YW, Han SB, Oh KW, Hong JT. l-Theanine, an amino acid in green tea, attenuates beta-amyloid-induced cognitive dysfunction and neurotoxicity: reduction in oxidative damage and inactivation of ERK/p38 kinase and NF-kappaB pathways. Free Radic Biol Med. 2009 December College of Pharmacy and CBITRC, Chungbuk National University, Cheongju, Chungbuk 361-763, Korea.