The pandemic proportion of diabesity-a combination of obesity and diabetes-sets a worldwide health issue. Experimental and clinical studies have progressively reinforced the pioneering epidemiological observation of an inverse relationship between consumption of polyphenol-rich nutraceutical agents and mortality from cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. With chemical identification of epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) as the most abundant catechin of green tea, a number of cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying the activities of this unique catechin have been proposed. Favorable effects of EGCG have been initially attributed to its scavenging effects on free radicals, inhibition of ROS-generating mechanisms and upregulation of antioxidant enzymes. Biologic actions of EGCG are concentration-dependent and under certain conditions EGCG may exert pro-oxidant activities, including generation of free radicals. The discovery of 67-kDa laminin as potential EGCG membrane target has broaden the likelihood that EGCG may function not only because of its highly reactive nature, but also via receptor-mediated activation of multiple signaling pathways involved in cell proliferation, angiogenesis and apoptosis. Finally, by acting as epigenetic modulator of DNA methylation and chromatin remodeling, EGCG may alter gene expression and modify miRNA activities. Despite unceasing research providing detailed insights, ECGC composite activities are still not completely understood. This review summarizes the most recent evidence on molecular mechanisms by which EGCG may activate signal transduction pathways, regulate transcription factors or promote epigenetic changes that may contribute to prevent pathologic processes involved in diabesity and its cardiovascular complications.
- epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG)
- oxidative stress
- redox balance