By Ben Spencer Medical Correspondent For The Daily Mail
Published: 00:11 BST, 23 May 2019 | Updated: 03:54 BST, 23 May 2019
Molecules found in red wine could be used to create a breakthrough treatment for high blood pressure, researchers announced.
Resveratrol, a compound produced in the skins of grapes, has long been touted as an elixir capable of combating many diseases from cancer to dementia.
But scientists have always struggled to translate these findings into successful treatments.
That is largely because the exact mechanism driving resveratrol’s effects have been poorly understood. Now experts at King’s College London say they have established how it works.
Resveratrol, a molecule produced in the skin of grapes and found in red wine, could be used to treat high blood pressure
Scientists at King's College London say they have established how the molecule works, which could lead to a future treatment for the condition alongside others including cancer and dementia
The researchers, funded by the British Heart Foundation, showed that resveratrol interacts with a protein called PKG1a in the wall of blood vessels. Resveratrol adds oxygen to the protein, causing the blood vessels to relax and expand, quickly leading to a drop in blood pressure.
This is a huge shift in the way scientists thought resveratrol worked. Many assumed it is an ‘antioxidant’ – a substance that stops oxygen damaging cells in the body.
But in fact it does the opposite, allowing oxygen in the blood stream to interact and oxidise the PKG1a protein.Writing in the Circulation