06 May 2014 In Cardiovascular System

The term FRENCH PARADOX was coined in 1992 to describe the relatively low incidence of cardiovascular disease in the French population, despite a relatively high dietary intake of saturated fats, and potentially attributable to the consumption of red wine. After nearly 20 years, several studies have investigated the fascinating, overwhelmingly positive biological and clinical associations of red wine consumption with cardiovascular disease and mortality. Light to moderate intake of red wine produces a kaleidoscope of potentially beneficial effects that target all phases of the atherosclerotic process, from atherogenesis (early plaque development and growth) to vessel occlusion (flow-mediated dilatation, thrombosis). Such beneficial effects involve cellular signaling mechanisms, interactions at the genomic level, and biochemical modifications of cellular and plasma components. Red wine components, especially alcohol, resveratrol, and other polyphenolic compounds, may decrease oxidative stress, enhance cholesterol efflux from vessel walls (mainly by increasing levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol), and inhibit lipoproteins oxidation, macrophage cholesterol accumulation, and foam-cell formation. These components may also increase nitric oxide bioavailability, thereby antagonizing the development of endothelial dysfunction, decrease blood viscosity, improve insulin sensitivity, counteract platelet hyperactivity, inhibit platelet adhesion to fibrinogen-coated surfaces, and decrease plasma levels of von Willebrand factor, fibrinogen, and coagulation factor VII. Light to moderate red wine consumption is also associated with a favorable genetic modulation of fibrinolytic proteins, ultimately increasing the surface-localized endothelial cell fibrinolysis. Overall, therefore, the "French paradox" may have its basis within a milieu containing several key molecules, so that favorable cardiovascular benefits might be primarily attributable to combined, additive, or perhaps synergistic effects of alcohol and other wine components on atherogenesis, coagulation, and fibrinolysis. Conversely, chronic heavy alcohol consumption and binge drinking are associated with increased risk of cardiovascular events. In conclusion, although mounting evidence strongly supports beneficial cardiovascular effects of moderate red wine consumption (one to two drinks per day; 10-30 g alcohol) in most populations, clinical advice to abstainers to initiate daily alcohol consumption has not yet been substantiated in the literature and must be considered with caution on an individual basis.

06 May 2014 In Cardiovascular System

OBJECTIVE: Red wine (RW) consumption has been associated with a reduction of cardiovascular events, but limited data are available on potential mediating mechanisms. This study tested the hypothesis that intake of RW may promote the circulating endothelial progenitor cell (EPC) level and function through enhancement of nitric oxide bioavailability.

METHODS AND RESULTS: Eighty healthy, young subjects were randomized and assigned to consume water (100 mL), RW (100 mL), beer (250 mL), or vodka (30 mL) daily for 3 weeks. Flow cytometry was used to quantify circulating EPC numbers, and in vitro assays were used to evaluate EPC functions. After RW ingestion, endothelial function determined by flow-mediated vasodilation was significantly enhanced; however, it remained unchanged after water, beer, or vodka intake. There were significantly increased numbers of circulating EPC (defined as KDR(+)CD133(+), CD34(+)CD133(+), CD34(+)KDR(+)) and EPC colony-forming units only in the RW group (all P<0.05). Only RW ingestion significantly enhanced plasma levels of nitric oxide and decreased asymmetrical dimethylarginine (both P<0.01). Incubation of EPC with RW (but not beer or ethanol) and resveratrol in vitro attenuated tumor necrosis factor-alpha-induced EPC senescence and improved tumor necrosis factor-alpha-suppressed EPC functions and tube formation. Incubation with nitric oxide donor sodium nitroprusside significantly ameliorated the inhibition of tumor necrosis factor-alpha on EPC proliferation, but incubation with endothelial nitric oxide synthase inhibitor l-NAME and PI3K inhibitor markedly attenuated the effect of RW on EPC proliferation.

CONCLUSIONS: The intake of RW significantly enhanced circulating EPC levels and improved EPC functions by modifying nitric oxide bioavailability. These findings may help explain the beneficial effects of RW on the cardiovascular system. This study demonstrated that a moderate intake of RW can enhance circulating levels of EPC in healthy subjects by increasing nitric oxide availability. Direct incubation of EPC with RW and resveratrol can modify the functions of EPC, including attenuation of senescence and promotion of EPC adhesion, migration, and tube formation. These data suggest that RW ingestion may alter the biology of EPC, and these alterations may contribute to its unique cardiovascular-protective effect.

06 May 2014 In Cardiovascular System

It is generally believed that the French paradox is related to the consumption of red wine and not other varieties of wine, including white wine or champagne. Some recent studies have indicated that white wine could also be as cardioprotective as red wine. The present investigation compares the cardioprotective abilities of red wine, white wine, and their principal cardioprotective constituents. Different groups of rats were gavaged with red wine, white wine, resveratrol, tyrosol, and hydroxytyrosol. Red wine and its constituent resveratrol and white wine and its constituents tyrosol and hydroxytyrosol all showed different degrees of cardioprotection as evidenced by their abilities to improve postischemic ventricular performance, reduce myocardial infarct size and cardiomyocyte apoptosis, and reduce peroxide formation. It was discovered in this study that although each of the wines and their components increased the enzymatic activities of the mitochondrial complex (I-IV) and citrate synthase, which play very important roles in oxidative phosphorylation and ATP synthesis, some of the groups were more complex-specific in inducing the activity compared to the other groups. Cardioprotective ability was further confirmed by increased expression of phospho-Akt, Bcl-2, eNOS, iNOS, COX-1, COX-2, Trx-1, Trx-2, and HO-1. The results of this study suggest that white wine can provide cardioprotection similar to red wine if it is rich in tyrosol and hydroxytyrosol.

06 May 2014 In Cardiovascular System

In contrast to many years of important research and clinical attention to the pathological effects of alcohol (ethanol) abuse, the past several decades have seen the publication of a number of peer-reviewed studies indicating the beneficial effects of light-moderate, nonbinge consumption of varied alcoholic beverages, as well as experimental demonstrations that moderate alcohol exposure can initiate typically cytoprotective mechanisms. A considerable body of epidemiology associates moderate alcohol consumption with significantly reduced risks of coronary heart disease and, albeit currently a less robust relationship, cerebrovascular (ischemic) stroke. Experimental studies with experimental rodent models and cultures (cardiac myocytes, endothelial cells) indicate that moderate alcohol exposure can promote anti-inflammatory processes involving adenosine receptors, protein kinase C (PKC), nitric oxide synthase, heat shock proteins, and others which could underlie cardioprotection. Also, brain functional comparisons between older moderate alcohol consumers and nondrinkers have received more recent epidemiological study. In over half of nearly 45 reports since the early 1990s, significantly reduced risks of cognitive loss or dementia in moderate, nonbinge consumers of alcohol (wine, beer, liquor) have been observed, whereas increased risk has been seen only in a few studies. Physiological explanations for the apparent CNS benefits of moderate consumption have invoked alcohol's cardiovascular and/or hematological effects, but there is also experimental evidence that moderate alcohol levels can exert direct "neuroprotective" actions-pertinent are several studies in vivo and rat brain organotypic cultures, in which antecedent or preconditioning exposure to moderate alcohol neuroprotects against ischemia, endotoxin, beta-amyloid, a toxic protein intimately associated with Alzheimer's, or gp120, the neuroinflammatory HIV-1 envelope protein. The alcohol-dependent neuroprotected state appears linked to activation of signal transduction processes potentially involving reactive oxygen species, several key protein kinases, and increased heat shock proteins. Thus to a certain extent, moderate alcohol exposure appears to trigger analogous mild stress-associated, anti-inflammatory mechanisms in the heart, vasculature, and brain that tend to promote cellular survival pathways.

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