Polyamines and biogenic amines are chemicals derived from amino acids. Polyamines are involved in intracellular signals. Biogenic amines function in intercellular communication.
Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) from green tea (Camellia sinensis) targets the pathways of biogenic amines and polyamines. This is of therapeutic interest in treating cancer. Tea is, also, a source of the amino acid, theanine, methylxanthines, such as caffeine and theobromine, and polyphenol antioxidants. Catechins are flavonoids and the major catechin is EGCG.
Polyphenols are anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic. EGCG causes apoptosis in cancer cells and inhibits lipoxygenase, cycloxygenase, angiogenesis and cell proliferation. Many of these effects result from inhibition of polyamines and biogenic amines.
Polyamines include putrescine, spermidine and spermine. EGCG inhibits polyamine metabolism. Histamine is a biogenic amine. It is important in smooth muscle contraction, vascular permeability, gastric acid secretion, neurotransmission, immunity and cell proliferation. EGCG inhibits histamine production.
Dopa decarboxylase (DDC) is the enzyme that converts l-DOPA into dopamine and 5-hydroxytryptophan into serotonin. DDC is involved in the synthesis of biogenic amines. Dopamine and serotonin are involved in Parkinson’s disease and depression. EGCG can inactivate DDC to reduce the production of biogenic amines in Parkinson’s disease.
CONCLUSION: Catechins, especially EGCG, inhibit many functions related to polyamines and biogenic amines and, thereby, are anti-carcinogenic and anti-inflammatory.
NOTE: Serotonin and dopamine neurotransmitters are, both, biogenic amines.