Can beer consumption improve cardiovascular health following oxidative injury?

In a recent study published in Antioxidants In the journal, the researchers examined the impact of antioxidants found in fermented beverages on tissue transcriptomics and the progression of cardiovascular disease at a molecular level.

This study aimed to analyze the relationship between beer consumption and the modulation of the transcriptomic response of the heart to an oxidative stress challenge induced by myocardial ischemia (MI).

Research: Effects of antioxidants in fermented beverages on tissue transcriptomics: effect of beer consumption on myocardial tissue after oxidative injury. Image credit: Viiviien/Shutterstock.com

Background

Polyphenols found in fermented beverages such as wine and beer have been shown to provide protection against oxidative stress. Cardiovascular disease is significantly affected by oxidative stress, which is responsible for its development and progression.

Despite the potential benefits of fermented beverages, more research is needed to fully explore their molecular-level effects on cardiovascular health.

About the study

In the current study, researchers investigated how beer consumption affects the transcriptomic response of the heart to an oxidative stress challenge caused by myocardial ischemia (MI) in a preclinical pig model with hypercholesterolemia.

Female pigs were fed hypercholesterolemic diet and divided into different groups. The low-drinking group was given 12.5 grams of alcohol per day, the moderate-drinking group was given 25 grams of alcohol per day, and the control group was given a hypercholesterolemic diet without any beer.

Animals were fasted for 10 days before undergoing a 90-minute near-thoracic mid-left anterior descending coronary artery balloon occlusion. They were sacrificed 21 days after experiencing MI.

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Subjects were given beer twice daily at feeding time, morning and afternoon. Samples were collected from the myocardium 21 days after MI at the time of sacrifice. This study compared the effects of different beer doses on the post-MI cardiac transcriptome.

The researchers conducted gene set enrichment analysis (GSEA) to rank genes based on fold-change between low- and moderate-dose beer regimes.

The team conducted a lead assessment of the Gene Ontology terms „oxidative phosphorylation” and „ribonucleic acid (RNA) splicing” to examine potential dose effects on these gene sets.

A sophisticated analysis was carried out to assess the effect of different levels of beer intake on the immune response. Analysis focused on the gene ontology terms “humoral immune response” and “positive regulation of inflammatory response”.

Results

The cardiac transcriptome was altered in a dose-dependent manner by beer consumption. Low-dose beer had little effect on cardiac gene expression, but moderate-dose beer had a significant effect on the transcriptome compared to control.

Consumption of moderate amounts of beer led to a decrease in RNA processing and the activity of spliceosome-linked genes. A direct dose-dependent effect was detected for both sets of genes.

The study analyzed differences in gene expression between low- and moderate-dose beer regimes based on fold-change. Significant detection of positive enrichments of gene sets associated with immune response was observed.

The team also found differential effects for low and moderate beer intake when the Gene Ontology terms „positive regulation of inflammatory response” and „humorous immune response” were examined.

Low-level beer consumption inhibited genes associated with the immune response, while moderate consumption stimulated their expression.

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Conclusion

Study results show how beer consumption can affect the heart’s response to oxidative damage. The study found that beer consumption had differential effects on gene expression, inflammation and immune response.

These effects depend on the amount of beer consumed. The data presented suggested that consumption of fermented beverages in low to moderate amounts may have positive effects on cardiovascular health.

Understanding how low-to-moderate beer consumption protects the heart may lead to new treatment options and nutritional interventions to improve recovery after MI.

Written by

Bhavana Kungalikar

Bhavana Kunkalikar is a medical writer based in Goa, India. Her academic background is in Pharmaceutical Sciences and she holds a Bachelor of Pharmacy degree. His academic background allowed him to develop an interest in anatomy and physiological sciences. His college project on 'Manifestations and Causes of Sickle Cell Anemia’ marked a lifelong fascination in human pathophysiology.

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