Renal damage mediated by oxidative stress: a hypothesis of protective effects of red wine

Free Radic Biol Med. 2002 Aug 1;33(3):409-22. doi: 10.1016/s0891-5849(02)00908-5.


Over the last decade, oxidative stress has been implicated in the pathogenesis of a wide variety of seemingly unrelated renal diseases. Epidemiological studies have documented an association of moderate wine consumption with a decreased risk of cardiovascular and neurological diseases; however, similar studies in the kidney are still lacking. The kidney is an organ highly vulnerable to damage caused by reactive oxygen species (ROS), likely due to the abundance of polyunsaturated fatty acids in the composition of renal lipids. ROS are involved in the pathogenic mechanism of conditions such as glomerulosclerosis and tubulointerstitial fibrosis. The health benefits of moderate consumption of red wine can be partly attributed to its antioxidant properties. Indeed, the kidney antioxidant defense system is enhanced after chronic exposure to moderate amounts of wine, a response arising from the combined effects of ethanol and the nonalcoholic components, mainly polyphenols. Polyphenols behave as potent ROS scavengers and metal chelators; ethanol, in turn, modulates the activity of antioxidant enzymes. Therefore, a hypothesis that red wine causes a decreased vulnerability of the kidney to the oxidative challenges could be proposed. This view is partly supported by direct evidences indicating that wine and antioxidants isolated from red wine, as well as other antioxidants, significantly attenuate or prevent the oxidative damage to the kidney. The present hypothesis paper provides a collective body of evidence suggesting a protective role of moderate wine consumption against the production and progression of renal diseases, based on the existing concepts on the pathophysiology of kidney injury mediated by oxidative stress.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / therapeutic use*
  • Flavonoids*
  • Humans
  • Kidney / drug effects*
  • Kidney / injuries
  • Kidney Diseases / metabolism
  • Kidney Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Oxidative Stress*
  • Phenols / therapeutic use*
  • Polymers / therapeutic use*
  • Polyphenols
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Wine*


  • Antioxidants
  • Flavonoids
  • Phenols
  • Polymers
  • Polyphenols
  • Reactive Oxygen Species