Resveratrol may limit the amount of damage occurring in the brain during a stroke

April 27, 2010

    Johns Hopkins University researchers report that Resveratrol may have a protective effect limiting the damage that occurs in the brain during a stroke. Resveratrol is a polyphenol found in wine, red grapes, and Japanese knotweed that along with Quercetin and Grape Seed Extract is responsible for many of the benefits associated with wine drinking. “Epidemiological and experimental reports have linked mild-to-moderate wine and/or grape consumption to a lowered incidence of cardiovascular, cerebrovascular, and peripheral vascular risk,” the authors note in their introductory remarks.

     Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine associate professor of anesthesiology and critical care medicine Sylvain Doré, PhD and colleagues gave mice a modest dose of Resveratrol two hours before triggering the most common stroke in humans; an ischemic stroke. Less brain damage occurred in the animals protected by Resveratrol compared to non-supplemented mice. The researchers found that Resveratrol increases levels of heme oxygenase, an enzyme that protects neurons in the brain. This protection was lost in mice in which heme oxygenase was selectively deleted and in cultured mouse neuronal cells treated with a heme oxygenase inhibitor, which demonstrates that heme oxygenase induction is in part responsible for Resveratrols protective effects. "Our study adds to evidence that Resveratrol can potentially build brain resistance to ischemic stroke," Dr Doré stated. "Resveratrol itself may not be shielding brain cells from free radical damage directly, but instead, Resveratrol, and its metabolites, may be prompting the cells to defend themselves.”

     Further research conducted by Dr Doré’s team suggests that Resveratrol could also be given after a stroke to help prevent damage. If Resveratrols mechanism is indeed indirect, the amount needed to protect the brain may not be a lot. "It's not likely that brain cells can have high enough local levels of Resveratrol to be protective," Dr Doré remarked. "Even a small amount may be sufficient." The study is published online ahead of print on April 8, 2010 in the journal Experimental Neurolog.