Anti-inflammatory compound resveratrol suppresses homocysteine formation in stimulated human peripheral blood mononuclear cells in vitro
Inflammation, immune activation and oxidative stress play a major role in the pathogenesis of cardiovascular disorders. In addition to markers of inflammation, moderate hyperhomocysteinemia is an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease, and there is a link between the activation of immunocompetent cells and the enhanced formation of homocysteine in vitro. Likewise, anti-inflammatory drugs and nutrients rich in antioxidant vitamins are able to reduce cardiovascular risk and to slow down the atherogenic process. Resveratrol, a phenolic antioxidant synthesized in grapes and vegetables and present in wine, has also been supposed to be beneficial for the prevention of cardiovascular events. Apart from its strong antioxidant properties, resveratrol has also been demonstrated to act as an anti-inflammatory agent. In this study the influence of resveratrol on the production of homocysteine by stimulated human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) was investigated. Results were compared to earlier described effects of the anti-inflammatory compounds aspirin and salicylic acid and of the lipid-lowering drug atorvastatin. Stimulation of PBMCs with the mitogens concanavalin A and phytohemagglutinin induced significantly higher homocysteine accumulation in supernatants compared with unstimulated cells. Treatment with 10-100 muM resveratrol suppressed homocysteine formation in a dose-dependent manner. Resveratrol did not influence the release of homocysteine from resting PBMCs. The data suggest that resveratrol may prevent homocysteine accumulation in the blood by suppressing immune activation cascades and the proliferation of mitogen-driven T-cells. The effect of resveratrol to down-regulate the release of homo-cysteine was comparable to the decline of neopterin concentrations in the same experiments. The suppressive effect of resveratrol was very similar to results obtained earlier with aspirin, salicylic acid and atorvastatin; however, it appeared that doses of compounds needed to reduce homocysteine levels to 50% of stimulated cells were always slightly lower than those necessary to achieve the same effect on neopterin concentrations. The influence of resveratrol and of all the other compounds on homocysteine production appears to be independent of any direct effect on homocysteine biochemistry.