Research Suggests Red Wine’s Potential Benefit for Diabetes

May 2008 - New research suggests that resveratrol, a chemical commonly found in red wine, has the ability to lower blood sugar levels, but might have certain untoward side effects. This research will be presented at the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) 17th Annual Meeting & Clinical Congress by Kimberly Martin, MD, and mentor, Dr. F. Ismail-Beigi, on Friday, May 16th, at the Walt Disney World Dolphin Resort in Orlando.

Resveratrol is a naturally occurring chemical found in grapes that has been reported to have cardioprotective, anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, and glucose-lowering properties. The effect of resveratrol on lowering blood glucose in diabetic rats has been reported by several investigators in the past.

Their results have shown that resveratrol improves glycemia by stimulating glucose transport in certain tissues including the skeletal muscle that expresses the insulin-sensitive Glut4 isoform of glucose transporters. However, the research by Drs. Martin and Ismail-Beigi shows that in cells expressing the Glut1 isoform, resveratrol blocks glucose transport by binding and inhibiting the Glut1 transporter.

This may be of importance because certain cells and tissues, including brain, retina, placenta, and red blood cells express large amounts of this transporter. Hence, the presumed inhibition of the Glut1 transporter in these tissues in-vivo may have undesired and negative effects on their normal function.

"It's exciting to see resveratrol's glucose-lowering effect in diabetic experimental animals," Dr. Martin said. "However, studies are currently underway in our laboratory to determine whether the agent inhibits glucose transport in the brain of normal and diabetic animals."

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At the 2008 AACE Annual Meeting, diabetes will be taking center stage. A special symposium titled "Clinical Trials Targeting Glycemia: What Do We Expect to Learn?" will consider the impact of glucose control through studies including ACCORD, ADVANCE, VADT, and others. Other sessions of interest include "Insulin Resistance and Atherosclerosis: The Missing Link," "Diabetes: A Cardiac Condition," and "Hypoglycemia: The Limiting Factor in the Glycemic Management of Diabetes."

Source: American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE)