How Resveratrol, Feature of Red Wine, Works to Fight Bacteria-linked Lung Inflammation Detailed in Study

Patricia Inácio, PhD avatar

by Patricia Inácio, PhD |

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A component of red wine and grapes, resveratrol, was seen to halt the pathogen-induced inflammation common in respiratory diseases, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma.

The study, “Resveratrol suppresses NTHi-induced inflammation via up-regulation of the negative regulator MyD88 short,” was published in the online journal Scientific Reports.

Resveratrol belongs to a group of compounds called polyphenols, which are found abundantly in natural plant food sources. The benefits of resveratrol and other polyphenols are linked to their antioxidant properties (i.e., by inhibiting the oxidation of other molecules, these compounds prevent the formation of free radicals, which damage cells). For this reason, resveratrol has long been considered a therapeutic agent for various diseases, including inflammatory diseases.

A team of researchers at Georgia State University studied the effect of resveratrol against inflammation caused by nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae (NTHi), a major respiratory pathogen. In fact, NTHi is a common pathogen colonizing the respiratory tract of asthma and COPD patients, seriously aggravating their condition.

Scientists performed in vitro and in vivo studies, and found that resveratrol significantly decreased NTHi-induced inflammation in both airway epithelial cells and mice lungs. Specifically, the team discovered the molecular mechanism behind this beneficial effect: resveratrol enhances the expression of MyD88 short, a key factor halting inflammation. These results support the therapeutic potential of resveratrol against inflammation associated with chronic airway disease.

“We showed that an important component in red wine and also grapes called resveratrol can suppress inflammation,” said Dr. Jian-Dong Li, the study’s lead author, director of the Institute for Biomedical Sciences at Georgia State and a Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar, in a press release. “It has been shown that resveratrol can suppress inflammation, but how it regulates inflammation still remains largely unknown. We found that resveratrol suppresses a major bacterial pathogen causing otitis media and COPD by upregulating or increasing the production of a negative regulator called MyD88 short.

“The findings help us to shed light on developing new therapeutic strategies by targeting or pharmacologically upregulating MyD88 short production,” Li added. “We could use resveratrol to suppress inflammation or develop resveratrol derivatives that could be pharmacological agents to suppress inflammation using the same strategy.”