06 May 2014 In Cardiovascular System

OBJECTIVES: Although light to moderate alcohol consumption has been associated with lower all-cause and cardiovascular (CV) mortality, the underlying mechanisms are only partly understood. Evidence has emerged in recent years that atherosclerosis is an inflammatory disease. We hypothesize that beneficial effects of moderate alcohol consumption on CV mortality may be linked to antiinflammatory effects.

METHODS AND RESULTS: The association between alcohol consumption and concentrations of high sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) and fibrinogen were investigated. Six hundred and thirtysix eligible individuals apparently healthy were included. 393 (61.8%) were men and 243 (38.2%) were women. The mean ages for men and women were 51.5 +/- 12.4 y and 50.8 +/- 12.1 y, respectively. Daily alcohol intake showed an apparent U-shaped association with hs-CRP and fibrinogen values in men, with lowest levels at an alcohol intake of 20-70 g daily (0.139 +/- 0.116 mg/dl for hs-CRP and 274 +/- 51.7 mg/dl for fibrinogen). Proportional odds model analysis showed moderate alcohol consumption (20 to 70 g vs. no drinking per day, OR = 0.32, 95% CI: 0.14-0.74), and regular exercise (> or = 3 times/week vs. no, OR = 0.52, 95% CI: 0.35-0.77) were negatively correlated with elevated hs-CRP values.

CONCLUSIONS: Our results parallel the demonstration of a U-shaped relationship between alcohol consumption and cardiovascular mortality, and suggest that anti-inflammatory effects of moderate alcohol intake may partly be linked to a low cardiovascular and overall mortality

06 May 2014 In Cardiovascular System

Atherosclerosis is considered a low-grade inflammatory disease. Polyphenol-rich alcoholic beverages (red wine) have shown a more pronounced antiinflammatory effect than polyphenol-free alcoholic beverages (gin). However, no studies to our knowledge have evaluated the antiinflammatory effects of alcoholic beverages with medium-level polyphenol content such as cava (sparkling wine). We enrolled 20 healthy men (aged 34 +/- 9 y) in a randomized crossover study to receive 30 g ethanol/d as cava or gin for 28 d. Before both interventions, subjects abstained from alcohol for 2 wk. Inflammatory biomarkers of atherosclerosis and expression of adhesion molecules on peripheral leukocytes were measured before and after each intervention. Likewise, dietary intake and exercise were also evaluated. Expression of lymphocyte function-associated antigen-1 (LFA-1), very late activation antigen-4 (VLA-4), Sialyl-Lewis(x) (SLe(x)), and CD40 on monocytes decreased after cava intake (all P < 0.05), whereas only SLe(x) was reduced after gin intake (P = 0.036). Circulating markers of atherosclerosis including vascular cell adhesion molecule-1, E-selectin, and P-selectin decreased after both interventions (all P < 0.05). High-sensitivity C-reactive protein, intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1), IL-6, monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1), and CD40L were diminished only after cava intake (all P < 0.05). The effects of cava on circulating CD40L, ICAM-1, and MCP-1, and monocyte surface expression of CD40, LFA-1, and VLA-4 were greater than those of gin (all P < 0.05). In conclusion, both cava and gin showed antiinflammatory properties; however, cava had a greater protective effect, probably due its polyphenol content.

06 May 2014 In Cardiovascular System

BACKGROUND: Since early 90', growing body of evidence indicates that the Mediterranean diet with mild to moderate consumption of wine, mostly red wine, has a protective effect on cardiovascular diseases. Several mechanisms have been discussed to participate in the beneficial effect of red wine, such as antioxidant or vasodilating activity. However, later it has been shown that also other alcoholic beverages have a protective effect on atherosclerosis. Up to now, data from the prospective, long-term, head-to-head comparisons of the effects of different drinks on markers of atherosclerosis are insufficient.

METHODS: The IVV (in vino veritas) study is a long-term, prospective, multicenter, randomized trial comparing the effect of red and white wines on the markers of atherosclerosis. One hundred and twenty healthy subjects with mild to moderate risk of atherosclerosis will be randomized to regular consumption of red wine (Pinot Noir) or white wine (Chardonnay-Pinot) for one year. The primary endpoint is the level of HDL-cholesterol at one year, while secondary endpoints are levels of other markers of atherosclerosis (LDL-cholesterol, C-reactive protein, myeloperoxidase, advanced oxidation protein product, interleukins 6 and 18, matrix metalloproteinases, glutathione s-transferase, monocyte chemoattractant protein 1, soluble CD40L).

CONCLUSION: The IVV trial is the first study focusing on the long-term prospective comparison of the effects of red and white wines consumption on HDL-cholesterol and other markers of atherosclerosis. Results of the IVV trial may extend our understanding of the widely discussed "French paradox" (Tab. 1, Ref. 21)

06 May 2014 In Cardiovascular System

OBJECTIVE: Moderate alcohol consumption is associated with substantially lower risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). We assessed the relationship between alcohol intake and inflammatory markers to partially explain this beneficial effect.

METHODS AND RESULTS: From two large prospective studies, we sampled 959 healthy male and 473 healthy female health professionals with reported alcohol intake. Markers of inflammation were soluble tumor necrosis factor-alpha receptors 1 and 2 (sTNF-R1 and sTNF-R2), C-reactive protein (CRP), and interleukin-6 (IL-6). We found significant inverse linear trends for sTNF-R1 (p-trend<0.001 men; 0.03 women) and sTNF-R2 (p-trend=0.002 men; 0.08 women) with increasing alcohol intake. Compared to non-drinkers, men who consumed on average 1-2 drinks/day had 26% lower CRP (-0.66 mg/L, p=0.13), and 36% lower IL-6 (-1.12 pg/ml, p=0.02) levels. Among women, a similar though stronger association was observed at half drink per day. Compared to non-drinkers, both men and women who consumed 1-2 drinks/drinking day had significantly lower sTNF-R1 (-9% in men, -6% in women) and sTNF-R2 (-7% in men, -6% in women) levels as well as lower CRP (-10% in men, -32% in women) and IL-6 (-45% in men, -27% in women) levels.

CONCLUSIONS: Alcohol in moderation is associated with lower levels of inflammatory markers and may lower risk of CVD through these mechanisms.

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