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Red wine compound fights Alzheimer's brain plaques

Red wine compound fights Alzheimer's brain plaques

The Journal of Biological Chemistry published a study that shows resveratrol, a compound in red wine, acts against the building of plaques on the brain associated with Alzheimer's.

Resveratrol is a natural polyphenol occurring in abundance in several plants, including grapes, berries and peanuts," explains study author Philippe Marambaud.

The polyphenol is found in high concentrations in red wines.

The highest concentration of resveratrol has been reported in wines prepared from Pinot Noir grapes.

Philippe Marambaud and his colleagues at the Litwin-Zucker Research Center for the Study of Alzheimer's Disease and Memory Disorders in Manhasset, New York, administered resveratrol to cells which produce human amyloid-beta and tested the compound's effectiveness by monitoring amyloid-beta levels inside and outside the cells.

The researchers believe the compound acts by stimulating the degradation of amyloid-beta peptides by the proteasome, a barrel-shaped multi-protein complex that can specifically digest proteins into short polypeptides and amino acids.

"It is difficult to know whether the anti-amyloidogenic effect of resveratrol observed in cell culture systems can support the beneficial effect of specific diets such as eating grapes," cautions Marambaud.

Resveratrol in grapes may never reach the concentrations required to obtain the effect observed in our studies.

Following up on their studies, Marambaud and his colleagues are trying to figure out how resveratrol exerts its effects in order to develop similar compounds to use in fighting Alzheimer's disease.

"Our long-term goal is now to elucidate the exact molecular mechanisms involved in the beneficial properties of resveratrol as a necessary prerequisite to the identification of novel molecular targets and therapeutic approaches," says Marambaud.

"The observation that resveratrol has a strong anti-amyloidogenic activity is a powerful starting point for screening analogues of resveratrol for more active and more stable compounds, a task in which our laboratory is actively involved.

We are now aiming to find more stable analogues and to test them in vivo in mice."


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