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Epigallocatechin-3-Gallate Improves Facial Dysmorphology Associated with Down Syndrome

By John M. Starbuck, Sergi Llambrich, Ruben González, Julia Albaigès, Anna Sarlé, Jens Wouters, Alejandro González, Xavier Sevillano, James Sharpe, Rafael de la Torre, Mara Dierssen, Greetje Vande Velde, Neus Martinez-Abadias

Posted 05 Mar 2018
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/276493

In Down syndrome (DS), the overall genetic imbalance caused by trisomy of chromosome 21 leads to a complex pleiotropic phenotype that involves a recognizable set of facial traits. Several studies have shown the potential of epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), a green tea flavanol, as a therapeutic tool for alleviating different developmental alterations associated with DS, such as cognitive impairment, skull dysmorphologies, and skeletal deficiencies. Here we provide for the first time experimental and clinical evidence of the potential benefits of EGCG treatment to facial morphology. Our results showed that mouse models treated with low dose of EGCG during pre- and postnatal development improved facial dysmorphology. However, the same treatment at high dose produced disparate facial morphology changes with an extremely wide and abnormal range of variation. Our observational study in humans revealed that EGCG treatment since early in development is associated with intermediate facial phenotypes and significant facial improvement scores. Overall, our findings suggest a potential beneficial effect of ECGC on facial development, which requires further research to pinpoint the optimal dosages of EGCG that reliably improve DS phenotypes. Current evidence warns against the non-prescribed intake of this supplement as a health-promoting measure.

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