Effects of the psychoactive compounds in green tea on risky decision-making


Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) and caffeine are the two primary compounds found in green tea. While EGCG has anxiolytic and anti-inflammatory effects, its acute effects on cognition are not well understood. Furthermore, despite widespread green tea consumption, little is known about how EGCG and caffeine co-administration impacts behavior. Here, we investigated the effects of multiple doses of either EGCG or caffeine on a rat model of risktaking. This was assessed using the risky decision-making task (RDT), in which rats choose between a small, welltolerated reward and a large reward with escalating risk of mild footshock. Rats were tested in RDT after acute systemic administration of EGCG, caffeine or joint EGCG and caffeine. EGCG caused a dose-dependent reduction in risk-taking without affecting reward discrimination or task engagement. Caffeine did not impact risk-taking, but elevated locomotor activity and reduced task engagement at high doses. Finally, exposure to both EGCG and caffeine had no effect on risk-taking, suggesting that low-dose caffeine is sufficient to mask the risk-aversion caused by EGCG. These data suggest EGCG as a potential therapeutic treatment for psychological disorders that induce compulsive risky decision-making.

Publication Title

Behavioural Pharmacology