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Procyanidins in Red Wine May Be Key to Healthy Heart

Wines rich in oligomeric procyanidins reduce endothelin-1 expression in endothelial cells

THURSDAY, Nov. 30 (HealthDay News) -- Red wine rich in polymeric procyanidins, a subgroup of heart healthy polyphenols, may be best at improving the condition of blood vessels and lowering mortality, according to a brief communication in the Nov. 30 issue of Nature.

Roger Corder, Ph.D., of Queen Mary's School of Medicine and Dentistry in London, U.K., and colleagues compared the effects of wine made from different regions of the world, each containing different concentrations of oligomeric procyanidins (OPCs) on expression of endothelin-1 in cultured endothelial cells. Endothelin-1 is a vasoconstricting peptide linked to atherosclerosis.

The investigators found that wines with higher OPC content were best at reducing endothelin-1 expression and that these wines came from areas with lower rates of heart disease. Wine made traditionally in southwest France and wines made from the Tannat grape were found to be especially high in OPCs.

"Absorption of OPCs and their identification in plasma has been demonstrated in vivo, but little is known about their biological availability and metabolism," the authors write. "Further investigation of OPC-rich wines and foods should provide insight into how vascular function might be optimally maintained."

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