LOS ANGELES, Nov. 19 (UPI) -- Red wine may be beneficial not only for cardiovascular health, but it may also help guard against Alzheimer's disease, U.S. researchers said.
Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, in collaboration with the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine in New York said they have discovered how red wine may reduce the incidence of Alzheimer's.
The study, published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, showed how naturally occurring compounds in red wine -- polyphenols -- blocked the formation of proteins that build the toxic plaques thought to destroy brain cells.
In addition, the study found the red wine reduced the toxicity of existing plaques, thus reducing cognitive deterioration.
David Teplow, a UCLA professor of neurology, said his laboratory has been studying how the amyloid beta-protein is involved in causing Alzheimer's disease. They treated the proteins with a polyphenol compound extracted from grape seeds and monitored how each of the two proteins folded up and stuck to each other to produce aggregates that killed nerve cells.
Teplow said his team discovered that polyphenols carry a one-two punch: they block the formation of toxic aggregates of amyloid beta-proteins and decrease the toxicity when polyphenols are combined with amyloid beta before it was added to brain cells.
"What we found is pretty straightforward," Teplow said in a statement. "If the amyloid beta proteins can't assemble, toxic aggregates can't form and thus there is no toxicity."