Theaflavin, a black tea polyphenol, protects nigral dopaminergic neurons against chronic MPTP/probenecid induced Parkinson's disease

Brain Res. 2012 Jan 18;1433:104-13. doi: 10.1016/j.brainres.2011.11.021. Epub 2011 Nov 13.


Parkinson's disease (PD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder, characterized by loss of dopominergic neurons in substantia nigra pars compacta, and can be experimentally induced by the neurotoxin 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1, 2, 3, 6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP). Chronic administration of MPTP/probenecid (MPTP/p) leads to oxidative stress, induction of apoptosis, and loss of dopominergic neurons which results in motor impairments. Epidemiological studies have shown an inverse relationship between tea consumption and susceptibility to PD. Theaflavin is a black tea polyphenol, which possess a wide variety of pharmacological properties including potent anti oxidative, anti apoptotic and anti inflammatory effects. The current study is aimed to assess the effect of theaflavin against MPTP/p induced neurodegenaration in C57BL/6 mice. We found that the theaflavin attenuates MPTP/p induced apoptosis and neurodegeneration as evidenced by increased expression of nigral tyrosine hydroxylase (TH), dopamine transporter (DAT) and reduced apoptotic markers such as caspase-3, 8, 9 accompanied by normalized behavioral characterization. This may be due to anti oxidative and anti apoptotic activity and these data indicate that theaflavin may provide a valuable therapeutic strategy for the treatment of progressive neurodegenerative diseases such as PD.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 1-Methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine / administration & dosage*
  • Animals
  • Biflavonoids / administration & dosage*
  • Catechin / administration & dosage*
  • Dopaminergic Neurons / drug effects*
  • Dopaminergic Neurons / metabolism
  • Dopaminergic Neurons / pathology
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Neuroprotective Agents / administration & dosage
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects
  • Oxidative Stress / physiology
  • Parkinsonian Disorders / chemically induced
  • Parkinsonian Disorders / pathology
  • Parkinsonian Disorders / prevention & control*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Polyphenols / administration & dosage
  • Probenecid / toxicity*
  • Random Allocation
  • Substantia Nigra / drug effects*
  • Substantia Nigra / metabolism
  • Substantia Nigra / pathology
  • Tea / chemistry


  • Biflavonoids
  • Neuroprotective Agents
  • Polyphenols
  • Tea
  • theaflavin
  • Catechin
  • 1-Methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine
  • Probenecid