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Red Wine May Help Stave off Alzheimer's

There appears to be more good news for red wine drinkers. Resveratrol, an organic compound found in red wine, has the ability to neutralize the toxic effects of proteins associated with Alzheimer's disease, according to a new study.

There appears to be more good news for red wine drinkers.

Resveratrol, an organic compound found in red wine, has the ability to neutralize the toxic effects of proteins associated with Alzheimer’s disease, according to a study published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

These results mark significant process in the understanding of the large-scale death of brain cells that occurs in certain neurodegenerative diseases.

“We’ve shown how resveratrol has very interesting selectivity to target and neutralize a select set of toxic peptide isoforms,” said Rensselaer Professor Peter M. Tessier, leader of the research group, in an online article. “Because resveratrol picks out the clumps of peptides that are bad and leaves alone the ones that are benign, it helps us to think about the structural differences between the peptide isoforms.”

There is little knowledge as to what extent small molecules can target and neutralize specific aggregated conformers; with that in mind, Tessier and colleagues set out to investigate “the capacity of resveratrol to recognize and remodel five conformers of the Aβ1-42 peptide associated with Alzheimer’s disease.”

The researchers found that by introducing resveratrol, which reacted with the toxic arrangements of the Aβ1-42 peptide, the toxicity was neutralized. The non-toxic arrangements, however, weren’t affected.

“The surprise is that this molecule can target some of these packing arrangements that are toxic and rearrange them into packing arrangements that are not toxic. For those forms that are non-toxic, it doesn’t change them,” Tessier said.

However, it was also found that one of the toxic arrangements (the soluble oligomer) and one of the non-toxic arrangements (the non-toxic oligomer) were impossible to differentiate through various methods. And yet the resveratrol only affected the toxic arrangement.

Because the seemingly identical non-toxic and toxic arrangements appear to have some distinguishing feature yet to be discovered, opening the door for future research on this topic.