Moderate consumption of alcoholic beverages is associated with a reduced risk of coronary heart disease (CHD). Some evidence suggests that red wine is particularly beneficial in this regard and may account in part for the French paradox, although the mechanism of this effect is unknown. We assessed the effects of red wine, ethanol, and quercetin, a major flavonoid constituent of red wine, in coronary resistance vessels (80-150 μm, i.d.) and conductance vessels (300-525 μm, i.d.) of the rabbit. Vessel wall tension was measured in isolated segments maintained in a wire-type myograph (37°C) and preconstricted with 30 mM K +. At an alcohol concentration (14 mM) equivalent to moderate consumption, red wine evoked a small, transient constrictor effect in resistance and conductance vessels (9 ± 4%, n = 5; 8 ± 1%, n = 7, respectively; p < 0.05). Ethanol alone at this concentration was without effect. Quercetin (5.6, 8, and 30 μM) significantly relaxed resistance (-32 ± 4%, n = 10; -47 ± 2%, n = 7; -82 ± 6%, n = 8, respectively) and conductance (-20 ± 3%, n = 8; -32 ± 4%, n = 8; -72 ± 7%, n = 8, respectively) coronary arteries. Vasorelaxation by quercetin was endothelium-independent and was significantly greater in resistance than in conductance vessels. These data suggest that red wine and ethanol do not evoke relaxation in small coronary arteries at concentrations associated with moderate consumption. Quercetin elicits marked coronary vasorelaxation that is endothelium-independent. However, the concentrations of quercetin necessary to achieve this action are not attained with moderate red wine consumption.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine