Differential effects of polyphenols and alcohol of red wine on the expression of adhesion molecules and inflammatory cytokines related to atherosclerosis: a randomized clinical trial

Am J Clin Nutr. 2012 Feb;95(2):326-34. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.111.022889. Epub 2011 Dec 28.


Background: Few clinical studies have focused on the alcohol-independent cardiovascular effects of the phenolic compounds of red wine (RW).

Objective: We aimed to evaluate the effects of ethanol and phenolic compounds of RW on the expression of inflammatory biomarkers related to atherosclerosis in subjects at high risk of cardiovascular disease.

Design: Sixty-seven high-risk, male volunteers were included in a randomized, crossover consumption trial. After a washout period, all subjects received RW (30 g alcohol/d), the equivalent amount of dealcoholized red wine (DRW), or gin (30 g alcohol/d) for 4 wk. Before and after each intervention period, 7 cellular and 18 serum inflammatory biomarkers were evaluated.

Results: Alcohol increased IL-10 and decreased macrophage-derived chemokine concentrations, whereas the phenolic compounds of RW decreased serum concentrations of intercellular adhesion molecule-1, E-selectin, and IL-6 and inhibited the expression of lymphocyte function-associated antigen 1 in T lymphocytes and macrophage-1 receptor, Sialil-Lewis X, and C-C chemokine receptor type 2 expression in monocytes. Both ethanol and phenolic compounds of RW downregulated serum concentrations of CD40 antigen, CD40 ligand, IL-16, monocyte chemotactic protein-1, and vascular cell adhesion molecule-1.

Conclusion: The results suggest that the phenolic content of RW may modulate leukocyte adhesion molecules, whereas both ethanol and polyphenols of RW may modulate soluble inflammatory mediators in high-risk patients. The trial was registered in the International Standard Randomized Controlled Trial Number Register at http://www.isrctn.org/ as ISRCTN88720134.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / pharmacology
  • Atherosclerosis / blood*
  • Atherosclerosis / prevention & control
  • CD40 Antigens / blood
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules / blood*
  • Chemokine CCL2 / blood
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Cytokines / blood*
  • Down-Regulation
  • Ethanol / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-16 / blood
  • Interleukin-6 / blood
  • Lewis X Antigen / blood
  • Macrophages / drug effects
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Monocytes / drug effects
  • Phytotherapy
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Polyphenols / pharmacology*
  • Receptors, CCR2 / blood
  • Sialyl Lewis X Antigen
  • T-Lymphocytes / drug effects
  • Wine* / analysis


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • CD40 Antigens
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules
  • Chemokine CCL2
  • Cytokines
  • Interleukin-16
  • Interleukin-6
  • Lewis X Antigen
  • Plant Extracts
  • Polyphenols
  • Receptors, CCR2
  • Sialyl Lewis X Antigen
  • Ethanol

Associated data

  • ISRCTN/ISRCTN88720134