Grapes may offer drug treatment for COPD

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A naturally-derived compound from grapes could be a potential drug candidate for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

The inflammatory lung disease is associated with a high mortality rate and currently lacks an effective anti-inflammatory agent to halt its progression.

Lin Haishu and his team from the pharmacy department at the National University of Singapore have found that a grape polyphenol called isorhapontigenin can suppress the lung inflammation that COPD causes. It’s also easily absorbed when taken orally.

Previous studies have shown that resveratrol, a molecule commonly found in red wine, displays anti-inflammatory activity but it is not suitable as a therapeutic agent due to its poor potency and pharmacokinetics. Other similar molecules, which are closely associated with resveratrol, have been shown to have better pharmacological properties.

Lin and his recently graduated PhD student, Yeo Chao Ming Samuel, used a variety of molecular and analytical techniques to investigate the medicinal properties of several of these naturally-derived compounds. They identified isorhapontigenin as a promising candidate with the potential to be developed into a drug to treat COPD.

Antibody treatment cuts flare-ups of tough COPD

“Corticosteroids, which are commonly used for reducing inflammation, are not effective in COPD patients. This compound, isorhapontigenin, uses a biological pathway that is different from corticosteroids to inhibit the release of inflammatory mediators in the body to tackle lung inflammation caused by COPD,” Lin says.

Moving ahead, the team plans to further evaluate the therapeutic potential of isorhapontigenin using in vivo studies.

The researchers report their work in the British Journal of Pharmacology. Additional researchers contributed to the work from the Imperial College London, UK.

Source: National University of Singapore