- Degenerative diseases of aging such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, and brain dysfunction are increasingly found to have, in part, an oxidative origin. As a result, dietary antioxidants such as Vitamins C and E and carotenoids play a major role in minimizing this damage and preventing or delaying the pathophysiology. Population groups that generally do not smoke (a significant oxidative insult to the body), do not drink heavily, or do not eat much meat but instead have a diet rich in fruits and vegetables have an overall cancer mortality about half that of the general population and live several years longer. The failure to eat adequate levels of fruits and vegetables may result in significantly greater lipid peroxidation and oxidative damage of DNA and protein (1,2).
There are numerous studies which suggest that moderate consumption of alcoholic beverages confers a beneficial effect on one's well being (3,4). This is due, in part, to the presence of phenolic compounds (such as flavonoids) that possess antioxidant properties in some alcoholic beverages. This is particularly true for red wines where the level of many flavonoids exceeds that found in white wines, beers, and distilled beverages.
The long term goal of our studies is to determine what role phenolics found in Oregon Pinot noir have in the beneficial effects of red wine consumption that were reported in epidemiological studies. We initially determined the level of circulating 8-isoprostanes (5) in untreated rat plasma as an indicator of whole body oxidative stress. We found that the levels of circulating isoprostane in untreated rats were about 110 pg/ml using a commercially available ELISA. As a result, this assay will be valuable to assess lipid peroxidation after different long term treatments.