Severe sepsis is an abnormal immune system response to a bacterial infection. Even with the most advanced medical techniques available, half of those who develop sepsis die of the massive assault on the body.
In a new laboratory study, Haichao Wang, PhD, of The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, and his colleagues have been studying the therapeutic powers of dozens of Chinese herbal compounds in reversing a fatal immune response that kills 225,000 Americans every year. They found that an ingredient in green tea rescued mice from lethal sepsis – and the findings could pave the way to clinical trials in patients.
Wang had previously discovered a late mediator of sepsis called HMGB1, a substance expressed in the late stages of lethal sepsis. They wanted to figure out a way to block this substance, which they felt would prevent the lethal sepsis process from moving forward.
Wang’s group gave a substance in green tea called EGCG to mice in the throes of severe sepsis. The dose was equivalent to ten cups in a human. Survival jumped from 53 percent in those who didn’t receive the green tea substance to 82 percent in those who did. “Clinically, even if we could save five percent of patients, that would be huge,” said Wang. “In this study, we saved 25 percent more animals with the green tea.” He said that the green tea component, EGCG, is readily available.
“This compound prevents HMGB1 from being released by immune cells and it also prevents it from activating immune cells to produce more cytokines,” he said. Cytokines are produced by immune cells and act as weapons to defend the body against invaders. “We are hoping to stimulate future interest in clinical studies,” said Wang.
MEDICA.de; Source: North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System