London: Green tea and red laser light can act as a powerful duo in obliterating Alzheimer’s plaques, a new study has revealed.
The research team at University of Ulm in Germany including Andrei Sommer and colleagues revealed that the light makes it feasible for the green-tea extract to work on the plaques.
The researchers had earlier used red light with a wavelength of 670 nanometres to transfer cancer drugs into cells.
During the process they found that the laser light pushes water out of the cells and when the laser is switched off, the cells ‘suck in’ water and any other molecules, including drugs, from their surroundings.
Sommer’s team have established that the same technique can be used to annihilate the beta-amyloid plaques in Alzheimer’s.
According to the researchers, these plaques consist of abnormally folded peptides, and are thought to interrupt communication between nerve cells, which may cause symptoms like loss of memory.
The team bathed brain cells containing beta-amyloid in epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) - a green-tea extract known to have beta-amyloid inhibiting properties - at the same time as stimulating the cells with red light, the New Scientist reported.
The results showed that the Beta-amyloid in cells got cut down by around 60 per cent and subjecting the cells to laser light alone reduced beta-amyloid by around 20 per cent.
Sommer asserted that getting drugs into the brain could be a challenging task but animal experiments indicate that the green-tea extract can penetrate the so-called blood-brain barrier when given orally together with red light.
“This important research could form the basis of a potential treatment for Alzheimer’s, with or without complementary drug treatment,” said Mario Trelles, medical director of the Vilafortuny Medical Institute in Cambrils, Spain.
“The technique described could help to regulate and even stop the appearance of this disease,” he added.