New York: A compound in green tea may help in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, a chronic disorder in which the joints get affected, say scientists.
The compound - epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) - inhibits the production of several molecules in the immune system that contributes to inflammation and joint damage in people with rheumatoid arthritis.
The study by researchers at the University of Michigan Health System found that the compound could also suppress inflammatory products in the connective tissue of people with the disorder, reported science portal EurekAlert.
"Our research is a very promising step in the search for therapies for the joint destruction experienced by people who have rheumatoid arthritis," said Salah-uddin Ahmed, the lead researcher.
Ahmed, a research investigator with the Division of Rheumatology at the U-M Health System, was selected to present the research at the Experimental Biology meeting as the recipient of the Young Scientist Travel Award from the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics.
The scientists are now focusing on the inhibitory role of EGCG in gene expression.
They plan to test EGCG in animal models of rheumatoid arthritis to see if it provides similar therapeutic or preventive effects.
Ahmed believes that the outcome of these studies will form a strong foundation for future testing of green tea compound in humans with rheumatoid arthritis.
Scientists have earlier shown that antioxidant properties found in green tea could help prevent coronary artery disease.
They had also said that drinking tea could help fight against autoimmune disease - when the immune system attacks itself by mistake.