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Protective Compounds in South African Red Wines

by | Oct 27, 2020 | Wine and health

Project Number
UCT SL 12-01

Project title
Protective compounds in South African red wines

Project leader
Lecour, S

University of Cape Town, Faculty of Health Sciences

Team members
Lamont, K
Cluver, P
Lacerda, L
Lategan, B
Zulfah, A
Vivier, M

Objectives and rationale of the study
The researchers explored the presence of the powerful antioxidant melatonin in South African wines, and they used different experimental preclinical models to test whether the concentration of melatonin in these wines may explain, at least in part, the cardiovascular health benefit of chronic and moderate consumption of wine.

Resveratrol and melatonin were measured in carefully selected South African wines and compared to their antioxidant properties. The researchers used in vitro and in vivo animal models to test the cardiovascular health benefits of different South African wines and synthetic wines enriched with melatonin and/or resveratrol. To explore the signalling pathways in wine or melatonin-induced cardioprotection, the researchers used genetically modified mice deficient in the SAFE pathway and pharmacological inhibitors of the melatonin receptors.

Key Results
The data revealed that melatonin is present in most red and white South African wines. In the experimental heart attack and pulmonary hypertension models, moderate and chronic consumption of wine or melatonin (given at the concentration found in wine) conferred cardiovascular benefits. Synthetic wines allowed an understanding of the cross-talk between alcohol resveratrol and melatonin to maximise the protection. Furthermore, the data reveal that the cardioprotective effect of wine/melatonin occurs via partial activation of the melatonin receptor type 3 and the activation of the SAFE pathway.

The data strongly suggest that the presence of melatonin in wine contributes to the health benefits of chronic and moderate consumption of wine. Increased melatonin in wine may benefit both the quality and the health benefit of South African red wines.


Image source: https://www.eatingwell.com/article/8051753/alcohol-heart-health-brain-less-stressed-new-research/

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