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Cardiovasc Res. 2004 Sep 1;63(4):593-602.

Vascular effects of wine polyphenols.

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Faculty of Pharmacy, Department of Pharmacological Sciences, Via Balzaretti, 9-20133 Milan, Italy.


Moderate consumption of red wine has been putatively associated with lowering the risk of developing coronary heart disease. This beneficial effect is mainly attributed to the occurrence of polyphenol compounds such as anthocyanosides (ACs), catechins, proanthocyanidins (PAs), stilbenes and other phenolics in red wine. This review focuses on the vascular effects of red wine polyphenols (RWPs), with emphasis on anthocyanosides and proanthocyanidins. From in vitro studies, the effect of red wine polyphenols on the vascular tone is thought to be due to short- and long-term mechanisms. NO-mediated vasorelaxation represents the short-term response to wine polyphenols, which exert the effect by increasing the influx of extracellular Ca(2+), and the mobilization of intracellular Ca(2+) in endothelial cells. Polyphenolic compounds may also have long-term properties, as they increase endothelial NO synthase expression acting on the promoter activity. In addition, they decrease the expression of adhesion molecules and growth factors, involved in migration and proliferation of vascular smooth muscle cells. Moreover, they inhibit platelet aggregation. However, a paucity of data as regards the bioavailability and metabolism of these compounds in human studies is a limiting factor to proving their efficacy in vivo.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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