Researchers from the Imperial College London in England and the National University of Singapore (NUS) have identified a grape polyphenol, known as isorhapontigenin, which shows potential for suppressing lung inflammation caused by chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
The naturally-derived compound belongs to the family of polyphenols, which are found abundantly in natural plant food sources. Polyphenols are known to have antioxidant properties, consequently preventing cell damage.
Additionally, because polyphenols are found in food, isorhapontigenin can be easily absorbed when taken orally, adding to its profile for becoming a potential candidate for the treatment of COPD.
“Corticosteroids, which are commonly used for reducing inflammation, are not effective in COPD patients,” Prof. Lin Haishu, from the Department of Pharmacy at NUS in Singapore, said in a press release.
“This compound, isorhapontigenin, uses a biological pathway that is different from corticosteroids to inhibit the release of inflammatory mediators in the body to tackle lung inflammation caused by COPD,” Haishu said.
Haishu and his PhD student Yeo Chao Ming Samuel used a broad range of techniques to investigate the medicinal properties of isorhapontigenin and other natural compounds.
One polyphenol that has shown anti-inflammatory activity is resveratrol, a molecule often found in red wine and grapes.
In the study titled “Resveratrol suppresses NTHi-induced inflammation via up-regulation of the negative regulator MyD88 short,” published in the journal Scientific Reports, resveratrol was seen to halt the pathogen-induced inflammation common in respiratory diseases like COPD and asthma.
Researchers at Georgia State University studied the effects of resveratrol against inflammation caused by nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae (NTHi), a common pathogen colonizing the respiratory tract of COPD and asthma patients.
The team found that resveratrol significantly decreased NTHi-induced inflammation in both airway epithelial cells and in the lungs of mice by increasing the activity of MyD88 short, a key factor halting inflammation.
However, because of its unproven potency and pharmacokinetics (the way the drug behaves in the body), resveratrol’s development was pushed aside, noted Haishu and his team.
Isorhapontigenin, on the other hand, was identified as a promising candidate with the characteristics necessary to be a successful therapeutic agent for COPD treatment.
Moving ahead, the team plans to further evaluate the therapeutic potential of isorhapontigenin in animal studies.