Neuroprotective effect of combination therapy of glatiramer acetate and epigallocatechin-3-gallate in neuroinflammation

PLoS One. 2011;6(10):e25456. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0025456. Epub 2011 Oct 13.


Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an inflammatory autoimmune disease of the central nervous system. However, studies of MS and the animal model, experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), indicate that neuronal pathology is the principle cause of clinical disability. Thus, there is need to develop new therapeutic strategies that not only address immunomodulation but also neuroprotection. Here we show that the combination therapy of Glatiramer acetate (GA), an immunomodulatory MS therapeutic, and the neuroprotectant epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), the main phenol in green tea, have synergistic protective effects in vitro and in the EAE model. EGCG and GA together led to increased protection from glutamate- and TRAIL-induced neuronal cell death in vitro. EGCG combined with GA induced regeneration of hippocampal axons in an outgrowth assay. The combined application of EGCG and GA did not result in unexpected adverse events in vivo. Neuroprotective and neuroregenerative effects could be translated in the in vivo model, where combination treatment with EGCG and GA significantly delayed disease onset, strongly reduced clinical severity, even after onset of symptoms and reduced inflammatory infiltrates. These results illustrate the promise of combining neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory treatments and strengthen the prospects of EGCG as an adjunct therapy for neuroinflammatory and neurodegenerative diseases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Axons / drug effects
  • Axons / pathology
  • Catechin / analogs & derivatives*
  • Catechin / pharmacology
  • Catechin / therapeutic use
  • Cell Count
  • Cell Death / drug effects
  • Central Nervous System / drug effects
  • Central Nervous System / pathology*
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Encephalomyelitis, Autoimmune, Experimental / drug therapy
  • Encephalomyelitis, Autoimmune, Experimental / pathology
  • Female
  • Glatiramer Acetate
  • Inflammation / drug therapy*
  • Inflammation / pathology
  • Mice
  • Neuroprotective Agents / pharmacology
  • Neuroprotective Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Peptides / therapeutic use*


  • Neuroprotective Agents
  • Peptides
  • Glatiramer Acetate
  • Catechin
  • epigallocatechin gallate