Neuroprotective effects of (-)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) on paraquat-induced apoptosis in PC12 cells

Cell Biol Int. 2008 Jan;32(1):22-30. doi: 10.1016/j.cellbi.2007.08.007. Epub 2007 Sep 1.


Green tea, owing to its beneficial effect on health, is becoming more and more popular worldwide. (-)-Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), the main ingredient of green tea polyphenols, is a known protective effect on injured neurons in neurodegenerative disease, such as Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease. Paraquat (PQ) is a widely used herbicide that possesses a similar structure to MPP(+) and is toxic to mesencephalic dopaminergic neurons. In the present study, PQ-injured PC12 cells were chosen as an in vitro cell model of Parkinson's disease and the neuroprotective effects of EGCG were investigated. The results showed that EGCG attenuated apoptosis of PC12 cells induced by PQ. The possible mechanism may be associated with maintaining mitochondrial membrane potential, inhibiting caspase-3 activity and downregulating the expression of pro-apoptotic protein Smac in cytosol. The present study supports the notion that EGCG could be used as a neuroprotective agent for treatment of neurodegenerative diseases.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / drug effects*
  • Apoptosis Regulatory Proteins
  • Carrier Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Caspase 3 / metabolism
  • Catechin / analogs & derivatives*
  • Catechin / pharmacology
  • Cell Nucleus / drug effects
  • Cell Nucleus / ultrastructure
  • Cell Survival
  • DNA Fragmentation / drug effects
  • Membrane Potential, Mitochondrial / drug effects
  • Mitochondrial Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Neuroprotective Agents / pharmacology*
  • PC12 Cells
  • Paraquat / toxicity*
  • Rats


  • Apoptosis Regulatory Proteins
  • Carrier Proteins
  • DIABLO protein, rat
  • Mitochondrial Proteins
  • Neuroprotective Agents
  • Catechin
  • epigallocatechin gallate
  • Caspase 3
  • Paraquat