Increasing evidence suggest that low-dose alcohol consumption (LAC) reduces the incidence and improves the functional outcome of ischemic stroke. Researchers determined the influence of low-dose alcohol consumption on post-ischemic inflammation in a rat study.
Male Sprague-Dawley rats were divided into 3 groups, an ethanol (13.5% alcohol) group, a red wine (Castle Rock Pinot Noir, 13.5% alcohol) group, and a control group. The amount of alcohol given to red wine and ethanol groups was 1.4 g/kg/day. After 8 weeks, the animals were subjected to a 2-hour middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO) and sacrificed at 24 hours of reperfusion. Cerebral ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) injury, expression of adhesion molecules and proand anti-inflammatory cytokines/chemokines, microglial activation and neutrophil infiltration were evaluated.
The total infarct volume and neurological deficits were significantly reduced in red wine- and ethanolfed rats compared to control rats. Both red wine and ethanol suppressed post-ischemic expression of adhesion molecules and microglial activation. In addition, both red wine and ethanol upregulated expression of tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases 1 (TIMP-1), downregulated expression of proinflammatory cytokines/chemokines, and significantly alleviated post-ischemic expression of inflammatory mediators. Furthermore, red wine significantly reduced post-ischemic neutrophil infiltration.
The study findings suggest that low-dose alcohol consumption may protect the brain against cerebral ischemia/reperfusion injury by suppressing postischemic inflammation.
Source: Effect of Low-Dose Alcohol Consumption on Inflammation Following Transient Focal Cerebral Ischemia in Rats. McCarter KD, Li C, Jiang Z, Lu W, Smith HC, Xu G, Mayhan WG, Sun H. Sci Rep. 2017 Oct 2;7(1):12547. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-12720-w.