Green tea extract can influence facial development in Down’s children
Share article:
Share article:

Green tea extract can influence facial development in Down’s children

© Na visky/Unsplash

One of the compounds contained in green tea can influence the facial development of children with Down’s syndrome in their early years, according to a study by researchers from the university of Leuven.

Down’s syndrome occurs when a child is born with an extra copy of the chromosome 21, which leads to physical and mental disorders to a greater or lesser degree. One gene in particular, known as DYRK1A, has an effect on the development of brain and bone cells.

The Leuven team found that a component of green tea, EGCG, can suppress the activity of DYRK1A.

In a previous study carried out in Spain in 2016, researchers showed that EGCG also had a positive effect on the cognitive abilities of young adults with Down’s.

In a first phase, the EGCG was given to pregnant mice – and thereby to the babies — in their water in either a low or a high dose.

A low dose of the extract had a positive effect on the mice that model Down’s syndrome,” said Professor Greetje Vande Velde of the department of imaging and pathology, one of the lead authors.

Sixty percent had a face shape similar to the control group without the Down’s syndrome model.”

However the high dose produced less promising results.

In some cases, facial development in the mice was even disturbed, resulting in further malformation,” said Prof. Vande Velde. “We found this not only in the model for Down’s syndrome, but also in other mice.”

The research then moved on to an observational study involving 287 children up to the age of 18, including 76 children with Down’s, 13 of whom were taking EGCG, the others not. The researchers made a detailed 3D model of each child’s face, and found that there was an overall difference of 57% between the models of children who did not take EGCG and children without Down’s, in the group aged zero to three years.

In the Down’s children taking EGCG, however, the differences from the control group went down to 25%. In other words, Down’s children on EGCG resembled children without Down’s more closely.

The effect was less evident in children aged 13 to 18, where facial features are at or closer to their final form. Even after starting to take EGCG, the differences between Down’s and control remained over 50%.

The researchers issued a caveat, however.

Our results indicate that the dosage plays an important role,” said Prof. Vande Velde.

Green tea supplements with EGCG are available over the counter and many people use them to promote their general health. It is very important to follow the European instructions for use and to always seek medical advice before use,” she said.

With our research we show that a low dose has potentially beneficial effects on facial development, but at the same time that a high dose in mice produces unpredictable results. More research in humans is needed to determine the optimal dosage for each age group and to develop the therapeutic potential.”

The study is published in the latest edition of the journal Nature.

Alan Hope
The Brussels Times

Latest news

Thousands protest against the Covid health pass in France
Demonstrations against the health pass and other measures aimed at preventing the spread of the Coronavirus mobilised tens of thousands of protesters ...
Record-breaking 770-metre highline installed in Freÿr, Beglium
A 770-metre long highline was installed at an altitude of 70 metres at the Freÿr Rocks on Saturday, setting a new Belgian record, according to ...
Will Brussels bounce back?
The lockdowns have tested the city and forced it to confront key questions about its future. Derek Blyth looks back at an extraordinary moment in our ...
Huge cannabis farm discovered inside closed down Chinese restaurant near Charleroi
A cannabis plantation with several hundred mature plants was dismantled on Friday evening in a former Chinese restaurant on Chaussée de Bruxelles ...
Citizen founded wind turbine project launched in Liège region
A citizen founded wind turbine project was inaugurated in the Liège Region on Saturday by Walloon Energy Minister Philippe Henry (Ecolo) together ...
Five questions to philosopher Philippe Van Parijs on Leopold II and embarrassment in Brussels’ public space
The worldwide explosion of the Black Lives Matter movement in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd, combined with the 60th anniversary of the ...
Belgium to invest in sustainable heating in 2022
The federal government will set aside about one million euros in its 2022 budget for a social tariff for sustainable heating, Federal Energy Minister ...
Anti-vaxxers demonstrate against Covid Safe Ticket in Brussels
Hundreds of supporters of the anti-vaxx movement gathered on Saturday outside the headquarters of the Pfizer pharmaceutical company to protest ...
Belgium’s investment funds total 260 billion euros in assets
Belgium’s funds industry grew by 5.3% (13 billion euros) in the second quarter of this year, bringing investment funds available to the public to ...
Brussels to Luxembourg by train in two hours soon possible
The fastest train ride between Brussels and Luxembourg currently takes almost three hours, but that could be slashed to about two hours thanks to the ...
Daily Covid infections up by almost 30% in Belgium
Between 6 and 12 October, an average of 2,438 people were infected with the Covid-19 virus every day, according to figures from the Sciensano public ...
Over 80,000 companies in Belgium non-compliant with anti-money laundering meassures
Over 80,000 companies and non-profits in Belgium are still not compliant with the Ultimate Business Owner (UBO) register, which is required of them ...