Aluminium may have an important role in the aetiology/pathogenesis/precipitation of Alzheimer's disease. Because green tea (Camellia sinensis L.) reportedly has health-promoting effects in the central nervous system, we evaluated the effects of green tea leaf extract (GTLE) on aluminium chloride (AlCl3) neurotoxicity in rats. All solutions were injected into the cornu ammonis region 1 hippocampal region. We measured the performance of active avoidance (AA) tasks, various enzyme activities and total glutathione content (TGC) in the forebrain cortex (FbC), striatum, basal forebrain (BFb), hippocampus, brain stem and cerebellum. AlCl3 markedly reduced AA performance and activities of cytochrome c oxidase (COX) and acetylcholinesterase (AChE) in all regions. It decreased TGC in the FbC, striatum, BFb, hippocampus, brain stem and cerebellum, and increased superoxide dismutase activity in the FbC, cerebellum and BFb. GTLE pretreatment completely reversed the damaging effects of AlCl3 on AA and superoxide dismutase activity, markedly corrected COX and AChE activities, and moderately improved TGC. GTLE alone increased COX and AChE activities in almost all regions. GTLE reduces AlCl3 neurotoxicity probably via antioxidative effects and improves mitochondrial and cholinergic synaptic functions through the actions of (−)-epigallocatechin gallate and (−)-epicatechin, compounds most abundantly found in GTLE. Our results suggest that green tea might be beneficial in Alzheimer's disease. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.