In vitro anti-beta-secretase and dual anti-cholinesterase activities of Camellia sinensis L. (tea) relevant to treatment of dementia

Phytother Res. 2004 Aug;18(8):624-7. doi: 10.1002/ptr.1519.


The primary target of licensed drugs for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease is the inhibition of the enzyme acetylcholinesterase, although preventing beta-amyloidosis is a prime target for drugs in development. The in vitro dual anti-cholinesterase and beta-secretase activities of Camellia sinensis L. extract (tea) is reported. Green and black tea inhibited human acetylcholinesterase (AChE) with IC(50) values of 0.03 mg/mL and 0.06 mg/mL respectively, and human butyrylcholinesterase (BuChE) with IC(50) values 0.05 mg/mL. Green tea at a final assay concentration of 0.03 mg/mL inhibited beta-secretase by 38%. These novel findings suggest that tea infusions contain biologically active principles, perhaps acting synergistically, that may be used to retard the progression of the disease assuming that these principles, yet to be identified, reach the brain.

MeSH terms

  • Acetylcholinesterase / drug effects*
  • Amyloid Precursor Protein Secretases
  • Aspartic Acid Endopeptidases
  • Butyrylcholinesterase / drug effects*
  • Camellia sinensis*
  • Cholinesterase Inhibitors / administration & dosage
  • Cholinesterase Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Cholinesterase Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Dementia / prevention & control*
  • Drug Synergism
  • Endopeptidases / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • Inhibitory Concentration 50
  • Phytotherapy*
  • Plant Extracts / administration & dosage
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use


  • Cholinesterase Inhibitors
  • Plant Extracts
  • Acetylcholinesterase
  • Butyrylcholinesterase
  • Amyloid Precursor Protein Secretases
  • Endopeptidases
  • Aspartic Acid Endopeptidases
  • BACE1 protein, human