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Wine Compound Spurs Diabetes Research

Scientists Make Chemicals That Act Like Red Wine's Resveratrol to Counter Diabetes in Mice
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WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Nov. 29, 2007 -- Resveratrol, a compound found in wine and grapes, has inspired scientists to create chemicals that may one day treat type 2 diabetes.

Red wine, grapes, raspberries, and peanuts are among the foods rich in resveratrol.

In October, Chinese researchers reported that resveratrol curbs insulin resistance in mice. Insulin is a hormone that controls blood sugar. Insulin resistance can lead to type 2 diabetes.

In today's edition of Nature, another team of scientists says it has developed chemicals that behave like a souped-up version of resveratrol in lab tests on diabetic mice.

Like resveratrol, the lab-made chemicals activate a gene called SIRT1, making the diabetic mice more sensitive to insulin.

But the newly developed chemicals are 1,000 times more potent than resveratrol.

Those chemicals haven't yet been tested on people or in long-term experiments, but they "hold promise" as a treatment for type 2 diabetes, write the researchers.

They included Christoph Westphal, MD, PhD. He's the CEO of Sirtris Pharmaceuticals, which made the compounds tested in the study. Scientists from Harvard Medical School and the University of California at San Diego also worked on the study.

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