Page last updated: Sep 2019
Resveratrol’s potential for the treatment of depression and anxiety


New research suggests that resveratrol, found in red wine, displays anti-stress effects by blocking the expression of an enzyme related to the control of stress in the brain, according to results of a University of Buffalo-led study.
The findings shed light onto how resveratrol impacts neurological processes.
Resveratrol, which has been linked to a number of health benefits, is a compound found in the skin and seeds of grapes and some berries. While research has identified resveratrol to have anti depressant effects, the compound’s relationship to phosphodiesterase 4 (PDE4), an enzyme influenced by the stress hormone corticosterone, was unknown.
Corticosterone regulates the body’s response to stress. Too much stress, however, can lead to excessive amounts of the hormone circulating in the brain and, ultimately, development of depression or other mental disorders.
These unknown physiological relationships make drug therapy complex. Current antidepressants instead focus on serotonin or noradrenaline function in the brain, but only one-third of patients with depression enter full remission in response to these medications, says says Ying Xu, co-lead author and research associate professor in the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.
In a study on mice, researchers revealed that PDE4, induced by excessive amounts of corticosterone, causes depression- and anxiety-like behaviour. The enzyme PDE4 lowers cyclic adenosine monophosphate — a messenger molecule that signals physiological changes such as cell division, change, migration and death — in the body, leading to physical alterations in the brain.
Resveratrol displayed neuroprotective effects against corticosterone by inhibiting the expression of PDE4. The research lays the groundwork for use of resveratrol in novel antidepressants.
“Resveratrol may be an effective alternative to drugs for treating patients suffering from depression and anxiety disorders,” says Ying Xu.
The study, published July 15 in the journal Neuropharmacology, was also led by Xiaoxing Yin, professor at Xuzhou Medical University in China.
Source: The antidepressant- and anxiolytic-like effects of resveratrol: Involvement of phosphodiesterase-4D inhibition. X Zhu, W Li, Y Li, W Xu, Y Yuan, V Zheng, H Zhang, JM.O’Donnell, Y Xu, X Yin. Neuropharmacology,Volume 153, 15 July 2019, Pages 20-31.

doi.org/10.1016/j.neuropharm.2019.04.022

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