Article Date: 17 Aug 2009 - 5:00 PDT
Scientists at Glasgow have shown how resveratrol, a powerful antioxidant found in red wine, works as an effective therapy for life-threatening inflammation.
Dr Alirio Melendez, a senior lecturer in the university's Division of Infection and Immunology, along with collaborators in Singapore, have solved a mystery which has puzzled experts since red wine was first identified as having health benefits. How does resveratrol control inflammation?
The study explains resveratrol's impact on inflammation as well as how it, or a derivative, can be used to treat potentially deadly inflammatory disease, such as appendicitis, peritonitis and systemic sepsis.
The findings have been published in the print edition of The FASEB Journal which belongs to the Federation of the American Societies for Experimental Biology.
"Strong acute inflammatory diseases such as sepsis are very difficult to treat and many die every day due to lack of treatment," said Dr Melendez, who is based at the University of Glasgow Biomedical Research Centre.
"Moreover, many survivors of sepsis develop a very low quality of life due to the damage that inflammation causes to several internal organs. The ultimate goal of our study was to identify a potential novel therapy to help in the treatment of strong acute inflammatory diseases."
The findings suggests that resveratrol may be utilised as a treatment for inflammatory diseases and may also lead to entirely new resveratrol-based drugs that are even more effective.
Resveratrol has been widely associated with health benefits ranging from anti-aging to boosting anti-viral treatments. Previous studies have found that resveratrol can help prevent blood clots and combat cancer.
"The therapeutic potential of red wine has been bottled up for thousands of years," said Gerald Weissmann, M.D. and editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal, "and now that scientists have uncorked its secrets, they find that studies of how resveratrol works can lead to new treatments for life-threatening inflammation."
The study follows previous work carried out by Dr Melendez published last month in the Proceedings of the National Association of Sciences of the USA (PNAS) journal.
The PNAS study showed how Dr Melendez and his team had discovered a method of reducing the impact of anaphylactic shock.
The team were the first in the world to pinpoint the molecule which amplifies the allergic reaction and to have successfully developed a biological agent to reduce the symptoms.
Proceedings of the National Association of Sciences