Resveratrol Reduces Inflammation in the Airways of Mice

Resveratrol is Found in Grapes, Berries, and Nuts

Background: Inflammation (redness and swelling) is prominent in the breathing tubes (airways) of those with COPD. Cigarette smoking, inhaling irritants in the air  (dust, second hand smoke, fumes,etc.), and a chest infection all cause inflammation in the lungs. Some treatments for COPD aim to reduce inflammation in the breathing tubes. Resveratrol is a phosphodisesterase (PDE) inhibitor that has potential as a therapy to reduce airway inflammation. It is in found in the skin of grapes, blueberries, raspberries, and nuts.
The skin of purple grapes contain resvetrol

Purple grapes

Study: Dr. Carla Andrews and colleagues at Georgia State University in Atlanta studied the effects of resveratrol on the cells lining the inside of the breathing tubes of mice. The study was published in the September 28, 2016, issue of the journal Nature. Results: In brief, resveratrol reduced the levels of two different inflammatory mediators. In addition, it had anti-inflammatory effects on the airways or mice after infection with the bacteria Haemophilus influenzae.
Raspberries contain resveratrol

Raspberries contain resveratrol

My Comments: At the present there are two different anti-inflammatory medications approved to treat those with COPD. One is inhaled corticosteroids which are combined with an inhaled bronchodilator (beta-2 agonist). The other is roflumilast – a pill which is used to reduce the risk of a flare-up (exacerbation) of COPD. In addition, oral and intravenous corticosteroids are used to treat those with COPD who have a sudden increase of shortness of breath, cough, and mucus production (exacerbation). These medications are typically prescribed for a short time (5 – 14 days). To my knowledge, there are no scientific studies that have examined whether eating foods containing resveratrol has a direct effect on those with COPD. However, grapes, berries, and nuts are foods that promote good health. Red wine is also a good source of this substance. Hopefully, in the future researchers will study the effects of resveratrol on the lining of the breathing tubes on humans who have COPD.

Donald A. Mahler, M.D. is Emeritus Professor of Medicine at Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth in Hanover, New Hampshire. He works as a pulmonary physician at Valley Regional Hospital in Claremont, NH, where he is Director of Respiratory Services.