[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Wine polyphenols could reinforce the endogenous antioxidant system, thereby diminishing oxidative damage. Studies in chronic models to understand the relationship between the bioavailability of polyphenols and their biological effects are still lacking. The aim of the present study was to prove the hypothesis that the antioxidant capacity of wines in vitro is positively correlated with the antioxidant capacity of plasma and negatively correlated with tissue lipid peroxidation, after chronic wine consumption. Adult rats received: water (control group), wine having variable phenolic content, ethanol (12.5% v/v) or alcohol-free red wine, for 4 weeks. The antioxidant capacity of wines in vitro and that of plasma induced in vivo were assessed through the reduction of ferric iron (FRAP, ferric reducing ability of plasma). Lipid peroxidation (production of thiobarbituric acid reactive substances, TBARS), and the activity of the antioxidant enzymes catalase (CAT), superoxide dismutase (SOD) and glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px), were determined in kidney, liver and lung. The phenolic content of wines was positively correlated with their FRAP values in vitro (r=0.407, p <0.002). Also, the relationship between wine FRAP in vitro to its respective plasma value in vivo showed a positive correlation (r=0.433, p <0.005). Phenolic concentration of wine did not influence the activity of CAT, SOD and GSH-Px of the three organs studied, but it was negatively correlated with their production of TBARS (r=-0.852, -0.891 and -0.790 for kidney, liver and lung, respectively, p <0.001). The present data provide evidence that the antioxidant capacity of wine in vitro implicates a homologous effect in vivo, thus helping to modulate tissue lipid peroxidation.