Red Wine Compound Could Point to Treatment for Eye Diseases

FRIDAY, June 25 (HealthDay News) -- A compound found in red wine and grapes inhibits the growth of new blood vessels (angiogenesis) associated with eye diseases, such as age-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy, researchers have found.

Resveratrol, which is produced by a variety of plants to fight bacterial and fungal infections, is found in particularly high levels in grape skin and at lower levels in blueberries, peanuts and other plant-based foods.

Previous research has shown that resveratrol can decrease the effects of aging and act as an anti-cancer agent. In this new study, researchers found that resveratrol inhibits harmful blood vessel growth in the eye. They also identified the specific pathway through which the compound achieves this effect and found that specific inhibitors could reverse the angiogenesis-blocking power of resveratrol.

The study appears in the July issue of the American Journal of Pathology.

The findings may improve understanding of angiogenesis in eye disease, cancer and atherosclerosis and lead to new treatments for these conditions, Dr. Rajendra S. Apte, of Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, and colleagues stated in a news release from the journal's publisher.

-- Robert Preidt

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SOURCE: American Journal of Pathology, news release, June 25, 2010