Recent research shows that resveratrol, a compound found in grapes and red wine, lowers the levels of the amyloid-beta peptides, which cause the telltale senile plaques of Alzheimer's disease.
Wine is enriched in antioxidant compounds with potential neuroprotective activities. Resveratrol is an antioxidant, a group of plant-based chemicals being widely studied for their health benefits. It is a natural polyphenol occurring in abundance in several plants, including grapes, berries and peanuts, and is found in high concentrations in red wines.
The researchers from the Litwin-Zucker Research Center for the Study of Alzheimer's Disease and Memory Disorders in Manhasset, New York administered resveratrol to cells, which produce human amyloid-beta and tested the compound's effectiveness by monitoring amyloid-beta levels inside and outside the cells. They found that levels of amyloid-beta in the treated cells were much lower than those in untreated cells.
Their findings appear in the November issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry. The researchers believe the compound acts by stimulating the degradation of amyloid-beta peptides by the proteasome, a barrel-shaped multi-protein complex that can specifically digest proteins into short polypeptides and amino acids.
However, the authors stress that eating grapes may not be a cure for Alzheimer's disease, because natural resveratrol is unstable. That makes it hard to get protection from eating grapes or drinking wine.
The authors assert that these findings demonstrate a proteasome-dependent anti-amyloidogenic activity of resveratrol and suggest that this natural compound has a therapeutic potential in Alzheimer's disease.