The findings, published in Food and Chemical Toxicology, suggest that the plant polyphenol could help to protect nerve cells from becoming damaged or dying due to exposure to alcohol – opening up the possibility that the molecule (dubbed the red wine compound) could help to battle alcohol related degenerative diseases.
Led by Zhenzhong Li from the Shandong University School of Medicine, China, the research team examined whether resveratrol had any in vitro effect on the growth and development of nerve cells in a sample of embryonic nerve tissue that had been exposed to alcohol (ethanol).
“Clinical studies and research in animals have established that ethanol consumption results in damage to the central and peripheral nervous systems and causes many diseases associated with neuronal degeneration,” explained Li and colleagues.
“The data in the present study indicate that resveratrol protects embryonic dorsal root ganglion neurons from ethanol-induced cell toxicity, including cell apoptosis, reduced neurite outgrowth and cell migration.”
The research team said that their lab findings suggest that resveratrol and its derivative could be good candidates for the prevention and/or treatment of such degenerative conditions.
Li and colleagues noted that although the full mechanism behind ethanol-induced neurotoxicity is still unclear, oxidative stress is known to play an important role.
“Because resveratrol (Res) is attracting increased attention due to its antioxidative properties, we investigated the neuroprotective efficacy of Res in ethanol-treated embryonic dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons in vitro,” they explained.
The team used cell culture models to test how resveratrol influenced the degeneration of neurones when exposed to ethanol – finding that the polyphenol compound increased the number of extended nerve fibres and neurons that migrated from the DRG explants.
Resveratrol was found to protect DRG neurons from ethanol-induced cell apoptosis, and alleviate ethanol-induced oxidative/nitrosative stress.
“The data from the present study indicate that Res protects DRG neurons from ethanol-induced neurotoxicity,” said Li and colleagues.
“These neuroprotective effects are associated with the activation of AMPK and SIRT1 by Res as well as its antioxidative effect,” they said.
Source: Food and Chemical Toxicology
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1016/j.fct.2012.12.052
“Neuroprotective effects of resveratrol on embryonic dorsal root ganglion neurons with neurotoxicity induced by ethanol”
Authors: Hongtu Yuan, Weiwei Zhang, Hao Li, Cheng Chen, Huaxiang Liu, Zhenzhong Li