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Ingredient in red wine may prevent some blinding diseases
Date:6/24/2010

Resveratrol found in red wine, grapes, blueberries, peanuts and other plants stops out-of-control blood vessel growth in the eye, according to vision researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

The discovery has implications for preserving vision in blinding eye diseases such as diabetic retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in Americans over 50.

The formation of new blood vessels, called angiogenesis, also plays a key role in certain cancers and in atherosclerosis. Conducting experiments in mouse retinas, the researchers found that resveratrol can inhibit angiogenesis. Another surprise was the pathway through which resveratrol blocked angiogenesis. The findings are reported in the July issue of the American Journal of Pathology.

"A great deal of research has identified resveratrol as an anti-aging compound, and given our interest in age-related eye disease, we wanted to find out whether there was a link," says Washington University retina specialist Rajendra S. Apte, MD, PhD, the study's senior investigator. "There were reports on resveratrol's effects on blood vessels in other parts of the body, but there was no evidence that it had any effects within the eye."

The investigators studied mice that develop abnormal blood vessels in the retina after laser treatment. Apte's team found that when the mice were given resveratrol, the abnormal blood vessels began to disappear.

Examining the blood-vessel cells in the laboratory, they identified a pathway known as a eukaryotic elongation factor-2 kinase (eEF2) regulated pathway that was responsible for the compound's protective effects. That was a surprise because past research involving resveratrol's anti-aging effects had implicated a different mechanism that these experiments showed not to be involved.

"We have identified a novel pathway that could become a new target for therapies," Apte
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Contact: Jim Dryden
jdryden@wustl.edu
314-286-0110
Washington University School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert  

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