Scientists at Johns Hopkins have found that red wine consumption can protect the brain from damage after a stroke.
Two hours after feeding mice a single modest dose of resveratrol, a compound found in the skins and seeds of red grapes, the researchers induced an ischemic stroke by essentially cutting off blood supply to the animals' brains.
They found that the animals that had preventively ingested the resveratrol suffered significantly less brain damage than the ones that had not been given the compound.
Study's lead author Sylvain Dore, from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, says his study suggests that resveratrol increases levels of an enzyme (heme oxygenase) already known to shield nerve cells in the brain from damage.
When the stroke hits, the brain is ready to protect itself because of elevated enzyme levels.
In mice that lacked the enzyme, the study found, resveratrol had no significant protective effect and their brain cells died after a stroke.
"Our study adds to evidence that resveratrol can potentially build brain resistance to ischemic stroke," says Dore.
The study appears online in the journal Experimental Neurology.