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Another Grape Compound Shows Promise as
Cancer-Preventing Agent By
A second compound in grapes has been found to have properties
that give it promise as a cancer-preventing agent, according to an
Agricultural Research Service study.
That finding by ARS research chemist Agnes Rimando, at the
agencys Natural Products
Utilization Research Unit at Oxford, Miss., is part of a
posted on the Journal
of Agricultural and Food Chemistrys web site. ARS is the chief
scientific research agency of the U.S.
Department of Agriculture.
In the study, Rimando reports that a compound called
pterostilbene (terro-STILL-bien) possesses similar cancer chemopreventive
qualities to those found in resveratrol, another compound in grapes.
Pterostilbene also showed strong inhibitory activity against breast cancer cell
lines. But the evidence remains preliminary and the compound has yet to be
evaluated in humans, according to Rimando.
In previous research, resveratrol has been credited with helping
grape plants fight off fungi and has been linked to low incidences of coronary
heart disease among wine- drinking populations.
Unlike resveratrol, however, pterostilbene is already known to
posses anti-diabetic properties. It was first isolated from red sandalwood
(Pterocarpus santalinus). Together with resveratrol, it has also been
identified in Vitis vinifera (wine grape) leaves, in Chardonnay and
Gamay berries infected with fungus, and in healthy Pinot Noir and Gamay
The study, prompted by pterostilbene's close structural
similarity to resveratrol, was conducted with the use of a mouse mammary gland
culture model that was exposed to a chemical carcinogen. The carcinogen caused
precancerous cells on which the compound was tested. The mouse mammary gland
test was performed by Rimandos collaborators at the
University of Illinois at Chicago.
Rimando conducted the study with five other scientists,
including plant physiologist Stephen O. Duke, the Natural Products Utilization
Research Unit's research leader, and John M. Pezzuto and Rajendra Mehta at the
University of Illinois at Chicago. The study was funded by USDA, the University
of Illinois at Chicago and the National