Study Spotlight

Study Spotlight

There’s more to red wine than a good bouquet.


Although red wine and one of its compounds, resveratrol, made a big splash in natural news a decade ago for healthy aging, there’s more to the story, as researchers have recently discovered. Aside from its well-known cellular protection and antioxidant power, recent research shows that it may also affect beneficial bacteria in the gut, which could have heart protecting effects. There is a strong relationship between our healthy bacteria – our “microbiota” – many aspects of overall well-being beyond digestion. Encouraging the growth of bacteria from Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, and Bacteroides affects the way the body processes cholesterol, synthesizes bile acids, and the reduction of trimethylamine-N-oxide (TMAO), which helps create arterial plaque. Resveratrol seems to be the primary cause behind these actions, so it will be interesting to see how more research reveals the benefits of red wine, beyond simply relaxing at the end of the day.

 

The Study: Resveratrol Attenuates Trimethylamine-N-Oxide (TMAO)-Induced Atherosclerosis by Regulating TMAO Synthesis and Bile Acid Metabolism via Remodeling of the Gut Microbiota

Chen ML, Yi L, Zhang Y, et al. Resveratrol Attenuates Trimethylamine-N-Oxide (TMAO)-Induced Atherosclerosis by Regulating TMAO Synthesis and Bile Acid Metabolism via Remodeling of the Gut Microbiota. MBio. 2016 Apr 5;7(2). pii: e02210-15.

The gut microbiota is found to be strongly associated with atherosclerosis (AS). Resveratrol (RSV) is a natural phytoalexin with anti-AS effects; however, its mechanisms of action remain unclear. Therefore, we sought to determine whether the anti-AS effects of RSV were related to changes in the gut microbiota. We found that RSV attenuated trimethylamine-N-oxide (TMAO)-induced AS in ApoE(-/-)mice. Meanwhile, RSV decreased TMAO levels by inhibiting commensal microbial trimethylamine (TMA) production via gut microbiota remodeling in mice. Moreover, RSV increased levels of the generaLactobacillusandBifidobacterium, which increased the bile salt hydrolase activity, thereby enhancing bile acid (BA) deconjugation and fecal excretion in C57BL/6J and ApoE(-/-)mice. This was associated with a decrease in ileal BA content, repression of the enterohepatic farnesoid X receptor (FXR)-fibroblast growth factor 15 (FGF15) axis, and increased cholesterol 7a-hydroxylase (CYP7A1) expression and hepatic BA neosynthesis. An FXR antagonist had the same effect on FGF15 and CYP7A1 expression as RSV, while an FXR agonist abolished RSV-induced alterations in FGF15 and CYP7A1 expression. In mice treated with antibiotics, RSV neither decreased TMAO levels nor increased hepatic BA synthesis. Additionally, RSV-induced inhibition of TMAO-caused AS was also markedly abolished by antibiotics. In conclusion, RSV attenuated TMAO-induced AS by decreasing TMAO levels and increasing hepatic BA neosynthesis via gut microbiota remodeling, and the BA neosynthesis was partially mediated through the enterohepatic FXR-FGF15 axis.

IMPORTANCE:

Recently, trimethylamine-N-oxide (TMAO) has been identified as a novel and independent risk factor for promoting atherosclerosis (AS) partially through inhibiting hepatic bile acid (BA) synthesis. The gut microbiota plays a key role in the pathophysiology of TMAO-induced AS. Resveratrol (RSV) is a natural phytoalexin with prebiotic benefits. A growing body of evidence supports the hypothesis that phenolic phytochemicals with poor bioavailability are possibly acting primarily through remodeling of the gut microbiota. The current study showed that RSV attenuated TMAO-induced AS by decreasing TMAO levels and increasing hepatic BA neosynthesis via gut microbiota remodeling. And RSV-induced hepatic BA neosynthesis was partially mediated through downregulating the enterohepatic farnesoid X receptor-fibroblast growth factor 15 axis. These results offer new insights into the mechanisms responsible for RSV's anti-AS effects and indicate that the gut microbiota may become an interesting target for pharmacological or dietary interventions to decrease the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases.

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