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Mechanism of Red Wine’s Effect on Mitochondria Clarified

Last Updated: May 02, 2012.

Moderate doses of resveratrol, a component of red wine, which is associated with increased lifespan, boosts mitochondrial function via the SIRT1 gene in mice, according to an experimental study in the May 2 issue of Cell Metabolism.

WEDNESDAY, May 2 (HealthDay News) -- Moderate doses of resveratrol, a component of red wine, which is associated with increased lifespan, boosts mitochondrial function via the SIRT1 gene in mice, according to an experimental study in the May 2 issue of Cell Metabolism.

To investigate the function of the SIRT1 gene, which is strongly activated by resveratrol but when knocked out in mice is lethal, Nathan L. Price, from Harvard Medical School in Boston, and colleagues engineered a drug-inducible system to allow whole-body deletion of SIRT1 in adult mice.

The researchers found that a moderate dose of resveratrol increased mitochondrial biogenesis and function and AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) activity in the presence of SIRT1. None of these benefits were exhibited in SIRT1 knockouts. Similar results were found in mice overexpressing SIRT1. Activation of AMPK by high doses of resveratrol was independent of SIRT1.

"Together these data indicate that SIRT1 plays an essential role in the ability of moderate doses of resveratrol to stimulate AMPK and improve mitochondrial function both in vitro and in vivo," Price and colleagues conclude.

One author is a consultant to several biotechnology companies and is an inventor on patents licensed to Sirtris, a GlaxoSmithKline company.

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