Theaflavins Improve Memory Impairment and Depression-Like Behavior by Regulating Microglial Activation.
Molecules. 2019 Jan 28 ;24(3). Epub 2019 Jan 28. PMID: 30696093
Inflammation in the brain is associated with various disorders including Alzheimer's disease and depression. Thus, inflammation has received increasing attention regarding preventive approaches to such disorders. Epidemiological investigations have reported that drinking tea reduces the risk of dementia and depression. Theaflavins, a polyphenol found in black tea, are known to have anti-oxidative and anti-inflammation effects, but the effects of theaflavins on cognitive decline and depression induced by inflammation have not been investigated. To address this research gap, the present study assessed whether theaflavins could protect synapses and dendrites damaged by inflammation and prevent concomitant memory impairment and depression-like behavior in mice. Intracerebroventricular injection with lipopolysaccharide (LPS) induces neural inflammation associated with reduced spontaneous alternations in the Y-maze test and increased immobility in the tail suspension test, indicating impaired spatial memory and depression-like behavior, respectively. Oral administration with theaflavins prevented these behavioral changes induced by LPS. Theaflavins also suppressed productions of inflammatory cytokines and prevented dendritic atrophy and spine loss in the brain. Notably, theaflavins have a stronger anti-inflammatory effect than other polyphenols such as catechin, chlorogenic acid, and caffeic acid. These results suggest that theaflavins can suppress neural inflammation and prevent the symptoms of inflammation-related brain disorders.