Objective: Red wine consumption has been associated with a reduction of cardiovascular events, but limited data are available on potential mediating mechanisms. This study tested the hypothesis that intake of red wine may promote the circulating endothelial progenitor cell (EPC) level and function through enhancement of nitric oxide bioavailability.
Methods and Results: Eighty healthy, young subjects were randomised and assigned to consume water (100 mL), RW (100 mL), beer (250 mL), or vodka (30 mL) daily for 3 weeks
Authors’ Conclusion: The intake of red wine significantly enhanced circulating EPC levels and improved EPC functions by modifying nitric oxide bioavailability. These findings may help explain the beneficial effects of red wine on the cardiovascular system. This study demonstrated that a moderate intake of red wine can enhance circulating levels of EPC in healthy subjects by increasing nitric oxide availability. Direct incubation of EPC with red wine and resveratrol can modify the functions of EPC, including attenuation of senescence and promotion of EPC adhesion, migration, and tube formation. These data suggest that RW ingestion may alter the biology of EPC, and these alterations may contribute to its unique cardiovascular-protective effect.
Lay Summary by Professor R Curtis Ellison: In a randomised trial among healthy young adults, the daily consumption of about 3 ounces of red wine for three weeks led to significant improvement in endothelial function, a key factor associated with the development and progression of atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease. Such improvements were not seen with the consumption of water or of beer or vodka containing similar amounts of alcohol. Further, in a series of in-vitro studies, the authors showed very similar effects from red wine and from a high concentration of resveratrol (but not from beer or ethanol) on factors associated with improved endothelial function. The study supports many epidemiologic and animal experiments suggesting that certain non-alcoholic constituents of red wine have additional beneficial effects on cardiovascular risk over those of just the alcohol itself.
To read a detailed analysis of this paper view the critique by ISFAR via www.alcoholforum4profs.org
Article: Huang PH, Chen YH, Tsai HY, Chen JS, Wu TC, Lin FY, Sata M, Chen JW, Lin SJ. Intake of red wine increases the number and functional capacity of circulating endothelial progenitor cells by enhancing nitric oxide bioavailability. Arteriosclerosis Thrombosis and Vascular Biology 2010;30:869-877.