Red wine represents a source of polyphenols which exhibit a number of biological effects on various systems. In this respect, there is evidence that red wine polyphenols constitute one of the ingredients of the Mediterranean diet which is associated to a reduced risk of coronary heart disease according to current literature. Here, we have evaluated in vitro the molecular mechanisms elicited by polyphenols from red wine (Negroamaro) on human healthy mononuclear cells. In particular, we have investigated the involvement of polyphenols in the activation of p38 and ERK1/2 molecules belonging to the MAPK kinase family and on the expression of IκBα and p65/NFκB. Results will demonstrate that in cells both the expression of p38 and ERK1/2 augments in the presence of red wine polyphenols, but their expression drops in the presence of polyphenols plus lipopolysaccharides (LPS). This indicates that in Gram-negative infections polyphenols may attenuate triggering of inflammatory mediators as a response to LPS stimulation. Finally, the regulatory role of polyphenols on IκBα and p65/NFκB expression is discussed, pointing out that red wine might favor anti-atherogenic mechanisms in the course of cardiovascular disease.
Keywords: Polyphenols, MAPK, NF-κB, nitric oxide, red wine, atherosclerosis, infectious diseases, signaling pathway