Evidence has been provided that red wine possesses antiatherogenic activities in virtue of its content in polyphenols (flavonoids and non-flavonoids substances). Here, some red wines (Negroamaro, Primitivo and Lambrusco) were tested for their ability to trigger nitric oxide (NO) production from human healthy peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC). Negroamaro was the strongest inducer of NO from PBMC and deprivation of polyphenols did not influence its NO generation capacity. This fact supports the involvement of polyphenols in the NO production even in the absence of alcohol, which also per se does not exert any significant activity. These results are also corroborated by the evidence that PBMC inducible-nitric oxide synthase expression occured by the effect of samples containing polyphenols but this expression was very weak when polyphenols were removed from the whole Negroamaro. In synthesis, flavonoids and resveratrol, major constitutents of red wine, once absorbed at intestinal level, enter circulation and trigger monocytes for NO production. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first demonstration of a direct effect of red wine on monocytes for NO release to occur. On the other hand, also the macrophage contingent from gut-associated lymphoid tissue can contribute to NO generation, besides the aliquot produced by endothelial cells, as previously demonstrated by various authors. Taken together, these results support the concept that moderate intake of red wine can prevent atherosclerosis via production of NO, a potent vasodilator of terminal vessels.
Keywords: Antiinflammatory, atherosclerosis, flavonoids, inducible nitric oxide synthase, nitric oxide, peripheral blood mononuclear cells, polyphenols, red wine