Author(s): Lamont KT
Epidemiological studies suggest that regular moderate consumption of red wine confers cardioprotection but the mechanisms involved in this effect remain unclear. Recent studies demonstrate the presence of melatonin in wine. We propose that melatonin, at a concentration found in red wine, confers cardioprotection against ischemia-reperfusion injury. Furthermore, we investigated whether both melatonin and resveratrol protect via the activation of the newly discovered survivor activating factor enhancement (SAFE) prosurvival signaling pathway that involves the activation of tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFα) and the signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3). Isolated perfused male mouse (wild type, TNFα receptor 2 knockout mice, and cardiomyocyte-specific STAT3-deficient mice) or rat hearts (Wistars) were subjected to ischemia-reperfusion. Resveratrol (2.3 mg/L) or melatonin (75 ng/L) was perfused for 15 min with a 10-min washout period prior to an ischemia-reperfusion insult. Infarct size was measured at the end of the protocol, and Western blot analysis was performed to evaluate STAT3 activation prior to the ischemic insult. Both resveratrol and melatonin, at concentrations found in red wine, significantly reduced infarct size compared with control hearts in wild-type mouse hearts (25 ± 3% and 25 ± 3% respectively versus control 69 ± 3%, P < 0.001) but failed to protect in TNF receptor 2 knockout or STAT3-deficient mice. Furthermore, perfusion with either melatonin or resveratrol increased STAT3 phosphorylation prior to ischemia by 79% and 50%, respectively (P < 0.001 versus control). Our data demonstrate that both melatonin and resveratrol, as found in red wine, protect the heart in an experimental model of myocardial infarction via the SAFE pathway.