Page last updated: May 2017
Molecular mechanism behind the neuroprotective effect of wine compounds

New research looks at the molecular mechanism behind the neuroprotective effect of wine compounds. Past research has indicated that moderate wine intake can be beneficial in delaying the onset of cognitive impairments in aging and neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease. In a paper published in Frontiers in Nutrition, Dr Esteban-Fernández from the Institute of Food Science Research in Madrid and her colleagues investigated the molecular mechanisms underlying the neuroprotective actions of wine.

The researchers studied the compounds that are left after the wine has passed through the gut called wine-derived human gut metabolites. They selected some of these metabolites based on their presence in the urine and faeces of people consuming wine on a regular and moderate basis. To explore the neuronal effect of these compounds, they added them to human cells under stress conditions that normally lead to neuronal cell dysfunction and death. These conditions are related to the initial stages of some neurodegenerative disorders.

Metabolites were found to protect the cells from death due to the stress conditions. However the researchers also discovered that the metabolites are active at different points in the cell death process.The exact composition of the wine metabolites is therefore important in the protective neuronal effect. And this composition depends on gut microbiota composition, as the intestinal flora breaks down the wine into the different metabolites.

"In other words, differences in our gut microbiota are leading to the different metabolites. Which underpins the idea that humans benefit from food in different ways," Lead author Dr Adelaida Esteban- Fernandez explained, "This individual difference is a factor not to be neglected to understand the health effects of certain foods. We now need to advance our understanding of the effect of diet in the promotion of normal brain function."

"It is very important to understand that certain food compounds are responsible for this health benefit in protecting against the onset of neurodegenerative diseases; no medication was involved.”

Source: Neuroprotective effects of selected microbialderived phenolic metabolites and aroma compounds from wine in human sh-sy5y neuroblastoma cells and their putative mechanisms of action. Esteban-Fernández A, Rendeiro C, Spencer JP, Del Coso DG, de Llano MD, Bartolomé B, Moreno-Arribas MV. Front Nutr. 2017 Mar 14;4:3.

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