Aims: Different epidemiological studies have demonstrated that some ethanol containing beverages intake could be associated with a reduction of cardiovascular mortality, effect attributed in part to its antioxidant properties. Nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-kappaB) is a redox sensitive transcription factor implicated in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis. We have examined the effect of four different ethanol containing beverages on the activation of NF-kappaB in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) and circulating concentrations of monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1) in healthy volunteers receiving a fat-enriched diet.
Methods and results: Sixteen volunteers received 16 g/m(2) of ethanol in form of red wine, spirits (vodka, rum, and brandy) or no ethanol intake along with a fat-enriched diet during 5 days and all of them took all alcohols at different periods. NF-kappaB activation (electrophoretic mobility shift assay) and circulating MCP-1 levels (ELISA) were examined in blood samples taken before and after 5 days of ethanol intake. Subjects receiving a fat-enriched diet had increased NF-kappaB activation in PBMC at day 5. Furthermore, MCP-1 levels were increased in plasma at day 5. Red wine intake and some ethanol beverages containing polyphenols (brandy and rum) prevented NF-kappaB activation and decreased MCP-1 release.
Conclusion: Consumption of moderate amounts of alcoholic drinks containing polyphenols decreases NF-kappaB activation in PBMCs and MCP-1 plasma levels during a fat-enriched diet. Our results provide additional evidence of the anti-inflammatory effects of some ethanol containing beverages, further supporting the idea that its moderate consumption may help to reduce overall cardiovascular mortality.