(-)-Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) modulates neurological function when intravenously infused in acute and, chronically injured spinal cord of adult rats

Neuropharmacology. 2014 Feb;77:100-19. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropharm.2013.09.013. Epub 2013 Sep 24.


Spinal cord injury (SCI) causes severe and long lasting motor and sensory deficits, chronic pain, and autonomic dysreflexia. (-)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) has shown to produce neuroprotective effect in a broad range of neurodegenerative disease animal models. This study designed to test the efficacy of intravenous infusion of EGCG for 36 h, in acutely injured rats' spinal cord: within first 4 h post-injury and, in chronically SC injured rats: after one year of injury. Functional outcomes measured using standard BBB scale, The Louisville Swim Scale (LSS) and, pain behavior assessment tests. 72 Female adult rats subjected to moderate thoracic SCI using MASCIS Impactor, blindly randomized as the following: (I) Acute SCI + EGCG (II) Acute SCI + saline. (III) Chronic SCI + EGCG. (IV) Chronic SCI + saline and, sham SCI animals. EGCG i.v. treatment of acute and, chronic SCI animals resulted in significantly better recovery of motor and sensory functions, BBB and LSS (P < 0.005) and (P < 0.05) respectively. Tactile allodynia, mechanical nociception (P < 0.05) significantly improved. Paw withdrawal and, tail flick latencies increase significantly (P < 0.05). Moreover, in the EGCG treated acute SCI animals the percentage of lesion size area significantly reduced (P < 0.0001) and, the number of neurons in the spinal cord increased (P < 0.001). Percent areas of GAP-43 and GFAP immunohistochemistry showed significant (P < 0.05) increase. We conclude that the therapeutic window of opportunity for EGCG to depict neurological recovery in SCI animals, is viable up to one year post SCI when intravenously infused for 36 h.

Keywords: Behavioral tests; EGCG; Spinal cord injury.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal / drug effects
  • Catechin / administration & dosage
  • Catechin / analogs & derivatives*
  • Catechin / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Neurons / drug effects
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Neuroprotective Agents / administration & dosage
  • Neuroprotective Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Pain / drug therapy*
  • Pain / physiopathology
  • Pain Measurement
  • Pain Threshold / drug effects
  • Pain Threshold / physiology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Recovery of Function / drug effects
  • Spinal Cord / drug effects*
  • Spinal Cord / physiopathology
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / drug therapy*
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / physiopathology


  • Neuroprotective Agents
  • Catechin
  • epigallocatechin gallate