Happy hour: Resveratrol may fight depression

New rodent research suggests resveratrol may block inflammation in the brain linked to depression.

Drink six glasses of red wine and you might feel less depressed. Of course, you might also feel nothing at all. A new study on the effects of resveratrol and depression suggests that consuming the equivalent of the amount of resveratrol in six glasses of vino can block inflammation related to depression as well as depression-related behaviors. That is, if you’re a rat.

To mimic social stress such as bullying or the loss of a loved one that can induce some psychiatric disorders, scientists at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine developed an animal model to use in a previous study. In it, a large, more aggressive rat was introduced to a group of other rats.

Some of the smaller rats developed both depressive-like behaviors and inflammation, while the smaller rats that did not develop depressive-like behaviors showed no inflammation, according to a release about the research from the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. The findings were noted on sciencedaily.com.

For this new study, the same bullying rat strategy was used, except the smaller rats were given a daily dose of resveratrol that was roughly equal to the amount found in six glasses of wine. They found that resveratrol blocked the increased inflammation in the brain and also prevented the depressive-like behaviors in animals that would have normally developed those behaviors.

“Resveratrol appears to knock down inflammation throughout the body,” said Julie Finnell, a doctoral student in the research team who will present the findings at the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (ASPET) Annual Meeting during Experimental Biology 2015. “We found that administering resveratrol blocks the inflammation we would normally see in animals undergoing the bullying stress and brings it to control levels."

Susan K. Wood, Ph.D., assistant professor at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine and leader of the research team, said the group’s findings are exciting because they show that resveratrol has anti-inflammatory potential in the brain, not just on levels of inflammation circulating in the body. “Certainly, there is a strong case being built now between clinical and preclinical work that inflammation is linked to depressive symptoms, and there is a great need for these findings to be validated in human studies,” she said.

Other studies have suggested resveratrol promotes longevity as well as prevent cognitive and hearing decline.

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