Epigallocatechin gallate and mitochondria—A story of life and death

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Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) is a flavonoid belonging to the chemical class of falvan-3-ols (catechins) esterified with gallic acid. It is the main catechin found in green tea (Camellia sinensis L.) accounting for about 50% of its total polyphenols. Extensive research performed in recent years has revealed that green tea demonstrates a wide range of positive biological activities against serious chronic diseases such as cardiovascular and neurodegenerative pathologies, cancer, metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes. These protective properties can be traced back to the potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities of EGCG. Recent studies have suggested that it may exert its beneficial effects by modulating mitochondrial functions impacting mitochondrial biogenesis, bioenergetic control (ATP production and anabolism), alteration of the cell cycle, and mitochondria-related apoptosis. This review evaluates recent evidence on the ability of EGCG to exert critical influence on the above mentioned pathways.

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