Inhibition of Platelet-Derived Growth Factor Beta by Red Wine May Help Explain the “French Paradox”

The Durk Pearson & Sandy Shaw®
Life Extension NewsTM
Volume 6 No. 1 • February 2003

Inhibition of Platelet-Derived Growth Factor Beta by Red Wine May Help Explain the “French Paradox”

The “French Paradox” is the way some people express the need to explain why the mortality rate for coronary artery disease in France is only about 50% compared with other European countries and the U.S., despite similar intakes of animal fats. It has been argued that higher wine consumption by the French might explain these mortality differences. Researchers now report1 that cellular signals initiated by the platelet-derived growth factor beta receptor (betaPDGFR), which plays a critical role in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis, are inhibited by red wine, but not white wine.

The authors explain that flavonoids of the catechin family found in red wine potently inhibit the PDGF-dependent tyrosine phosphorylation of the betaPDGFR at concentrations found in wine. They note that the inhibitory effects of each catechin are less potent than red wine, but appear to be additive. White wine did not inhibit betaPDGFR signaling and PDGF-dependent DNA synthesis, but “flavonoid-enriched” white wine (made by incubating white wine in various concentrations of shredded grape seeds for 96 hours) did.

In conclusion, red wine, but not white wine, specifically inhibits betaPDGFR signaling, PDGF-dependent proliferation, and migration of VSMC (vascular smooth muscle cells). The researchers also report that recent studies have shown that catechins are largely bioavailable after red wine intake. Concentrations of red wine catechins shown to inhibit the betaPDGFR in vitro (~400 mcg/l) correlate with the serum levels of catechin after red wine consumption in humans (up to 600 mcg/l). Also, in apolipoprotein E-deficient mice (a model for human atherosclerosis), oral ingestion of red wine, catechin, or a mixture of various catechins led to a reduction of atherosclerotic lesion areas of 48%, 39%, and 23%, respectively.


  1. Rosenkranz et al. Inhibition of the PDGF receptor by red wine flavonoids provides a molecular explanation for the “French paradox.” FASEB J (Oct. 18, 2002).

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