In lab experiments over rats, lead researcher Jianbo Zhao and co-workers from the First Affiliated Hospital of Liaoning Medical University found that green tea extracts significantly lessen oxidative stress and reduce neuronal apoptosis.

"The results show that green tea polyphenols can help protect spinal cord neurons against oxidative stress exposure," Zhao added.

Oxidative stress is an important factor in secondary injury after damage to the spinal cord. Accumulation of oxidation products can cause a series of harmful effects such as lipid peroxidation, protein oxidation and DNA damage.

The findings show a possible treatment for the functional recovery and regeneration of neurons after spinal cord injury, said the study published in the journal Neural Regeneration Research.

Spinal cord injuries comprise primary and secondary injuries. The former refers to mechanical injury to the spinal cord and the latter to a series of pathological changes such as oxidative stress and release of inflammatory factors with a complicated pathogenesis.

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