People living in areas with high wine consumption have a reduced incidence of coronary heart disease but the cause or the mechanisms of protection remain unclear. In 20/27 December Nature Roger Corder and colleagues from Barts & London School of Medicine, Queen Mary, University of London, UK, show that red wines strongly inhibit the synthesis of endothelin-1 (ET-1), a vasoactive peptide that is crucial in the development of coronary atherosclerosis

Corder et al. measured ET-1 synthesis in bovine aortic endothelial cells that were cultured in the presence of ethanol free extracts from 23 red wines, four white wines, one rosé wine and one red-grape juice. They found that for the red wines, the degree of inhibition of ET-1 synthesis correlated with the total polyphenol content while the white and rosé wines had no effect on ET-1 synthesis (Nature 2001, 414:853-854).

These results may help to design...

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