Can a Compound Found in Grapes Reduce Respiratory Inflammation?

According to new Georgia State University research, a component of red wine and grapes can help control inflammation associated with upper respiratory tract inflammatory diseases such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and middle ear infection.

The increasing number of antibiotic-resistant bacterial strains and the limited success of currently available pharmaceuticals used to manage the symptoms of these diseases "present an urgent need for the development of novel anti-inflammatory therapeutic agents," according to the authors.

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The compound the authors studied, resveratrol, belongs to a group known as polyphenols, which are believed to act as antioxidants, defending the body against damage. While noting that resveratrol has "long been thought of as an interesting therapeutic agent for various diseases, including inflammatory diseases," the researchers point out that the molecular mechanisms underlying its anti-inflammatory properties remain largely unknown.

With this study, the authors say they have shown for the first time that resveratrol decreases expression of proinflammatory mediators in airway epithelial cells and in the lungs of mice by enhancing MyD88 short, a negative regulator of inflammatory signaling pathways. MyD88 short is considered a “brake pedal protein,” the authors note, because it can tightly control inflammation induced by respiratory pathogens such as nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae (NTHi). It could be a critical target with significant therapeutic potential for suppressing inflammation associated with chronic airway disease.

In addition, the investigators found that resveratrol inhibits the NTHi-induced phosphorylation of extracellular signal-regulated kinases (ERK) 1/2 by increasing MAP kinase phosphatase-1 expression via a cAMP-PKA-dependent signaling pathway.

“We show that resveratrol has anti-inflammatory effects post NTHi infection, thereby demonstrating its therapeutic potential," according to the authors. "Together, these data reveal a novel mechanism by which resveratrol alleviates NTHi-induced inflammation in airway disease by up-regulating the negative regulator of inflammation MyD88s."

—Mark McGraw


Andrews CS, Matsuyama S, Lee B-C, Li J-D. Resveratrol suppresses NTHi-induced inflammation via up-regulation of the negative regulator MyD88 short [published online September 28, 2016]. Sci Rep. doi:10.1038/srep34445.