UCT SL 17-01
Cardioprotective compounds in South African wines
University of Cape Town. Hatter Institute
Objectives and rationale of the study
The researchers aimed to explore the melatonin isomers content in South African wines and to delineate whether melatonin and melatonin isomers present in wine may protect the heart in different pathophysiological conditions such as a heart attack. They further aimed to explore the mechanisms involved in this cardioprotective effect.
The levels of melatonin and melatonin isomers in wine were measured with chromatography techniques. Using a cell culture model that simulates a heart attack, the researchers explored the cardioprotective effect of melatonin and melatonin isomers found in wine. They conducted pharmacological studies to delineate the mechanisms of protection of melatonin and melatonin isomers found in wine.
The level of melatonin and melatonin isomers in South African wines was comparable to Italian wines. Both melatonin and melatonin isomers, given at the concentration found in wine, conferred cardioprotective properties against a simulated heart attack. This effect was mediated by the activation of cell signalling components such as the sphingosine kinase and microRNAs.
Key conclusion of the discussion
The data support a cardioprotective effect of melatonin and melatonin isomers at the concentration present in wines. Modulating and controlling the production of melatonin and melatonin isomers during the winemaking process (including the fermentation process when most melatonin and melatonin isomers are produced) may influence the health benefits of regular and moderate consumption of wine.
Take home message for the industry
The presence of melatonin and melatonin isomers in wine is likely to contribute to the health and cardiovascular benefits of regular and moderate consumption of wine.