Consuming red wine and grapes can help to reduce inflammatory diseases such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (COPD) and middle ear infection (otitis media), according to a study.
The findings, published in the journal Scientific Reports, identify that resveratrol, a compound found naturally in some plant foods such as grapes, can alleviate inflammation in airway disease and control inflammation induced by a bacterial pathogen.
The results suggested this compound could offer health benefits and be used to develop new, effective anti-inflammatory therapeutic agents.
“We showed that an important component in red wine and also grapes called resveratrol can suppress inflammation,” said Jian-Dong Li, researcher at the Georgia State University.
The researchers found that resveratrol suppresses a major bacterial pathogen causing otitis media and COPD by upregulating or increasing the production of a negative regulator called MyD88 short.
Resveratrol belongs to a group of compounds called polyphenols that are thought to act like antioxidants and protect the body against damage. It has long been considered a therapeutic agent for various diseases, including inflammatory diseases.
In the study, resveratrol was effective against inflammation caused by nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae (NTHi), a major respiratory pathogen.
An appropriate amount of inflammation in the body is beneficial for defence against bacterial infection, but uncontrolled inflammation leads to inflammatory diseases.
Antibiotics are routinely used to treat NTHi infections, but the increasing numbers of antibiotic-resistant bacterial strains and the limited success of currently available pharmaceuticals used to manage the symptoms of these diseases present an urgent need for the development of non-antibiotic therapeutics.
This study found for the first time that resveratrol decreases NTHi-induced expression of pro-inflammatory mediators in airway epithelial cells and in the lungs of mice by enhancing MyD88 short, a negative regulator of inflammatory signalling pathways.
The researchers also found that resveratrol has anti-inflammatory effects after NTHi infection, which demonstrates its therapeutic potential.