Before I write this post, Im writing this major for realsies ‘notice’, because people have an amazing capacity to do stupid things:

The following study demonstrates how a component of green tea, EGCG, can help negate some factors involved in certain kinds of HIV-1 transmission.

This does not mean green tea stops HIV-1 transmission.

This does not mean that if you drink a ton of green tea, you cannot transmit to your partner.

This does not mean you can roll a green tea doobie, shove it up your vagaygay, and youre ‘protected’. Same for shoving a One-A-Day Weight Smart up your butt, or dipping your dick in Darjeeling.

Dont be a god damned idiot.

I love HIV-1 research. There is so much going on, there is so much to read about, so much to learn– I live in a small corner of HIV-1 research: evolution, fitness, HIV-1 population dynamics and such. I know a lot about my little research niche, but there has been cool stuff going on in other niches I had no idea was going on!

For example, mah mind was blown yesterday when I learned that there is a component of semen that enhances HIV-1 infectivity. Prostatic acid phosphatase. Bits of PAP stick together to form amyloid fibrils. These fibers stick to HIV-1, and then stick to target cells, thereby enhancing infectivity. You dont have to have purified, industrial PAP to see this effect– you can just mix sperm and HIV-1, throw it on target cells, and the virus infects more cells than when the sperms not there.

Well EGCG screws up the formation of other kinds of amyloid fibrils. They either keep the fibers from forming completely, or the proteins form little clumps instead of threads:
Bright idea: Maybe EGCG can negate the infectivity enhancing properties of PAP by screwing up fiber formation!

Yup!

The main green tea polyphenol epigallocatechin-3-gallate counteracts semen-mediated enhancement of HIV infection

ATTENTION: Mixing EGCG with HIV-1 does nothing to stop HIV-1 infection. Figure 3A. NOTHING. EGCG DOES NOT STOP HIV-1 INFECTION!

What does happen, is that EGCG knocks HIV-1+PAP higher levels of infectivity down to (almost) HIV-1 only levels, Figure 3B. It (almost) gets rid of PAPs ability to enhance infection.

Which means that EGCG could be a cheap additive to microbicides and condoms, tipping the balance in our favor a little bit more. Still hasnt been tested in human trials, but this is some nice good news.

Comments

  1. #1 JD
    June 4, 2009

    However, too many green tea lattes increase the possibility of attracting strangers in coffee houses.

  2. #2 Rrr
    June 4, 2009

    Oh I know Im dense, and this is not even one of my brightest days. But to my feeble “mind” it seems the legends are mixed up. Or maybe its just that I dont get the symbols. Whats the egcg grey dot doing in the upper (amyloid) chain, when it does its business in the lower (unstructured, bunched-up) reaction chain? I kan has brians? Or food? pls

  3. #3 Brian
    June 4, 2009

    I think more disclaimers need to conclude with the sentence: “Don’t be a goddamned idiot.”

  4. #4 Optimus Primate
    June 4, 2009

    I think I might dip my dick in Darjeeling anyway. Just for kicks.

    Not that I have AIDS or anything. It just sounds like the makings for a fun Thursday night.

  5. #5 ERV
    June 4, 2009

    Rrr– It might have made more sense if I included the (B) portion of that figure, I just nabbed the (A).

    In the upper one, EGCG is preventing the generation of the B-conformer of the protein, preventing lots of B-conformers from joining together to make the fibril. The EGCG induced structure just makes harmless ‘unstructured’ clumps that cant interact with the B-conformers.

    Seeded B-conformers cant do anything with EGCG structures.

    EGCG clumps cant do anything with B-conformers.

    Did that help at all, or did I just make things worse? lol!

  6. #6 Joe
    June 4, 2009

    dipping your dick in Darjeeling

    Of course this won’t work, Darjeeling is a black tea. You need to use a nice Japanese Sencha!

  7. #7 Rrr
    June 4, 2009

    Thanks ERV. Your explanananation (plus food!) helped me get to grips with that crossed-out arrow symbol. Tentatively. I “think”. Anyway, Im into black tea (ceylon) or coffee and I keeps it from teh pirate parts. Dont even dunk kookies. Often.

  8. #8 Matthew
    June 4, 2009

    Fascinating!

    I drink a whole lot of tea, had about 6 pints today haha, english style though (with milk), never drink green tea, despite its mega-hype ZOMG ANTIOXIDANTZ!!1!1 media status.

    Should be revising Biology for exams but damn, this stuff is soooo much more interesting!

  9. #9 Mobius
    June 4, 2009

    Alright, taking “tea” and “peepee”, I can think of all sorts of silly rhymes. Not going any further down that road.

    I can already hear the gears of the rumor mill meshing. You are spot on, Abbie, to try to quash this right now.

  10. #10 Prometheus
    June 4, 2009

    Great I’ll mix vodka with it!

    *Sleeps with Pardieu*

    *HIV*

    *Multiple Myeloma*

    Crap oh well. I hear it slows cancer growth. I’ll use it to wash down my proteasome inhibitors for my plasma cancer!

    *goes into renal failure*

    *dies*

    *haunts ERV*

  11. #11 opony triangle
    June 4, 2009

    I love green tea from now on…

  12. #12 Ian Musgrave
    June 4, 2009

    I’m both pleased and disappointed with this paper as they gazumped us. We have been doing the very same experiments, but the reluctance of the funding bodies to give us money meant we’ve been beaten. Two years of work down the drain. I have very nearly recovered from my despondency.

    On the other hand, really important research is now out in the public domain in a high profile journal, and the funding bodies can’t tell us “it won’t work” any more.

    What does happen, is that EGCG knocks HIV-1+PAP higher levels of infectivity down to (almost) HIV-1 only levels, Figure 3B. It (almost) gets rid of PAPs ability to enhance infection.

    SFX: polite cough. Firstly, in then absence of SEVI, HIV is rubbish at infecting cells. In the real world, during sexual transmission HIV will always be partnered by SEVI. EGCG can knock down the infectivity of HIV by between 10-100 fold. That is pretty impressive. Then, look at figure 4C, and supporting figures S4 using endogenous, rather than lab formed SEVI and supporting figure S2, where EGCG dropped HIV infectivity below that of HIV alone. In some samples almost back to baseline.

    This is probably due to EGCG binding to the CD4 receptor (J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2009 Feb;123(2):459-65. why no knockdown in Fig 3? probably because more efficient amyoidogenesis in the lab made fibrils results in more EGCG binding sites, so all the EGCG is adsorbed onto the fibrils, leaving none to act on the CD4 receptor).

    Saying EGCG does nothing to stop HIV infection is misleading (although a valuable antidote to the gormless boosterism out there). It all real sexual transmission cases, HIV will be present with SEVI, and the infections will be due to HIV being boosted by SEVI.

    By preventing the SEVI-HIV interaction, all indications are that transmission risk can be massively reduced if EGCG is incorporated into microbicides. The anti-CD4 activity is the icing on the cake. These properties, combined with the relatively low toxicity of EGCG (you can basically rub it into your skin with no problems, ulceration has been a significant problem with some microbicides) make EGCG a very strong candidate for a cheap-effective microbicide. One of the best we have had for a long time.

    Even if an EGCG microbicide were to reduce transmission only 2 fold, it would have enormous benefits in developing countries.

    Still, I’m betting it will only be a short time before EGCG is Incorporated into woo like these anti-HIV teas [sigh]

  13. #13 Brw
    June 5, 2009

    But is EGCG also a contraceptive? Woooo….

    Fusion is fusion, right?

  14. #14 Dr. Duke
    June 6, 2009

    Woo-Woo teas! Linked by Ian Musgrave #12 above. I like this one best:


    1 bottle Arc Elixir

    Another of the Energized Elixirs, Arc is based on the ancient geometry of the golden mean rectangle, the golden mean spiral and their three- dimensional organization with ARC of the Covenant geometry. The technology created with the ARC of the Covenant geometry is totally unique and creates a golden spiral effect to enliven H2O molecules with sacred geometry structural changes. The energy and vibration created in the transformed geometry is unparalleled in terms of healing power. Arc elixir’s main benefit to combating HIV is its ability to disrupt viruses, signaling them to die.
    —-

    That Covenant Spiral Geometry must make teh VIRIS dizzy!!

  15. #15 Colin
    June 27, 2009

    Yea, there was a similar story floating around about a green tea extract slowing the progression of prostate cancer – there’s some other evidence that it might do something (EGCG again being the major component) but the study that people were talking about was rubbish. In addition, the BBC author made a few mistakes that showed exactly how much research had gone into the article… Read more on http://www.blue-genes.net/2009/06/does-green-tea-slow-prostate-cancer/

  16. #16 Crowhed
    July 9, 2009

    @Ian Musgrave:

    No one has shown that SEVI is physiologically relevant to in vivo infectivity. The process of creating the fibrils (deep freeze) is not something that occurs during intercourse.

    . . . that I’ve read anyway. Is that info out there somewhere and I missed it?

  17. #17 cancer watcher
    November 9, 2009

    Why don’t you check the recent development of polymer chestry and nano technology. In the case of cancer research,
    you could easily find the great result .
    DDS focused on nano technology now.
    Anti-cancer-Japanese Green Tea- Catechin -EGCG- micelle and nano technology-EGCG-C16, EGCG-C10

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