In a new study, researchers found that a compound found in red wine may help develop new treatments for depression and anxiety.
The plant compound is called resveratrol. It has anti-stress effects by blocking an enzyme related to the control of stress in the brain.
The research was led by University at Buffalo and other institutes.
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, depression and anxiety affect 16 and 40 million people respectively in the U.S.
Resveratrol, which has been linked to a number of health benefits, is a compound found in the skin and seeds of grapes and berries.
Previous research has shown resveratrol has antidepressant effects. But how the compound could change an enzyme influenced by the stress hormone corticosterone is unknown.
In this study, the team aimed to answer the question.
Corticosterone regulates the body’s response to stress.
Too much stress, however, can lead to excessive amounts of the hormone circulating in the brain and, ultimately, the development of depression or other mental problems.
Current antidepressants instead focus on serotonin or noradrenaline function in the brain, but only one-third of patients with depression enter full remission in response to these medications.
The current study found that the enzyme PDE4, induced by excessive amounts of corticosterone, causes depression- and anxiety-like behavior.
The enzyme lowers cyclic adenosine monophosphate—a messenger molecule that signals physiological changes such as cell division, change, migration, and death—in the body, leading to physical changes in the brain.
But the compound resveratrol could fight against corticosterone by inhibiting the expression of the enzyme.
The team says resveratrol may be an effective alternative to drugs for treating patients suffering from depression and anxiety.
But they also say that consumption of alcohol carries various health risks, including addiction. Therefore, people need to avoid excessive alcohol drinking.
The lead author of the study is Ying Xu, MD, Ph.D., research associate professor in the UB School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.
The study is published in Neuropharmacology.
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