-- Robert Preidt
THURSDAY, Feb. 2 (HealthDay News) -- U.S. researchers believe
they've discovered how resveratrol -- a chemical found in red wine
and other plant products -- provides health benefits.
The researchers said their work with mice may help settle the
debate about resveratrol's biochemistry and could advance efforts
to develop resveratrol-based medicines.
"Resveratrol has potential as a therapy for diverse diseases such as type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer's disease and heart disease," study author Dr. Jay Chung, chief of the Laboratory of Obesity and Aging Research at the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, said in an institute news release. "However, before researchers can transform resveratrol into a safe and effective medicine, they need to know exactly what it targets in cells."
Resveratrol appears to inhibit proteins called
phosphodiesterases (PDEs), which help regulate cell energy,
according to the researchers.
Some previous studies suggested that resveratrol's primary
target is sirtuin 1, but the authors of this new study doubted that
when they found that resveratrol activity required another protein
called AMPK. This would not be the case if resveratrol directly
interacted with sirtuin 1.
The researchers analyzed the metabolic activity in cells treated
with resveratrol and identified the protein PDE4 in the skeletal
muscle as the principal target for the health benefits of
Follow-up tests with mice confirmed that resveratrol attaches to
and inhibits PDE proteins.
The findings are published in the Feb. 3 issue of the journal
Results from animal research are not necessarily applicable to
humans. Much more research is needed before resveratrol drugs could
The U.S. National Cancer Institute discusses
red wine and cancer prevention.
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