Washington: A component in red wine and grapes can help control inflammation induced by a bacterial pathogen linked to diseases such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (COPD) and middle ear infection, according to a new study.
Researchers at Georgia State University in the US identified a novel mechanism that resveratrol, a compound found naturally in some plant foods such as grapes, uses to alleviate inflammation in airway disease.
The results suggest this compound could offer health benefits and be used to develop new, effective anti-inflammatory therapeutic agents.
"We showed that an important component in red wine and also grapes called resveratrol can suppress inflammation," said Dr Jian-Dong Li, director of the Institute for Biomedical Sciences at Georgia State.
"We found that resveratrol suppresses a major bacterial pathogen causing otitis media and COPD by upregulating or increasing the production of a negative regulator called MyD88 short," said Li.
Resveratrol belongs to a group of compounds called polyphenols that are thought to act like antioxidants and protect the body against damage.
It has long been considered a therapeutic agent for various diseases, including inflammatory diseases.
In the study, resveratrol was effective against inflammation caused by nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae (NTHi), a major respiratory pathogen.
An appropriate amount of inflammation in the body is beneficial for defence against bacterial infection, but uncontrolled inflammation leads to inflammatory diseases.
Upper respiratory tract inflammatory diseases such as asthma and COPD affect more than half a billion people worldwide and are characterised by chronic inflammation that is aggravated by respiratory pathogens such as NTHi.
Antibiotics are routinely used to treat NTHi infections, but the increasing numbers 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 non-antibiotic therapeutics.
This study found for the first time that resveratrol decreases NTHi-induced expression of pro-inflammatory mediators in airway epithelial cells and in the lungs of mice by enhancing MyD88 short, a negative regulator of inflammatory signalling pathways.
MyD88 short is considered a "brake pedal protein" because it can tightly control inflammation induced by this respiratory pathogen.
It could be a critical target with significant therapeutic potential for suppressing inflammation associated with chronic airway disease.
The researchers also found that resveratrol has anti-inflammatory effects after NTHi infection, which demonstrates its therapeutic potential.
The finding was published in the journal Scientific Reports.