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Natural compounds found in grapes could ward off stress-induced depression, according to new research found in Nature Communications.

Scientists at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai conducted an extensive analysis of two new grape-derived compounds, dihydrocaffeic acid (DHCA) and malvidin-3’-O-glucoside (Mal-gluc).

Approximately 16 million Americans have a major depressive episode each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Current pharmacological treatments for depression target the systems that regulate serotonin, dopamine, and related transmitters, but do not address inflammatory and synaptic maladaptions associated with the disease.

The research team found that a bioactive dietary polyphenol product that included a select Concord grape juice, a select grape seed extract, and trans-resveratrol effectively treated stress-induced depression in mice.

Specifically, the researchers believe that DHCA and Mal-GLUC target newly discovered underlying mechanisms of depression. These two compounds modulated inflammation and synaptic plasticity.

"We hope to translate our findings into a clinical setting, where we believe the treatment could effectively decrease difficult to treat symptoms associated with depression by targeting mechanisms of inflammation in a subset of patients who are refractive to current treatment options," Giulio Maria Pasinetti, Ph.D., Saunders Professor of Neurology, and a team of investigators from the Center for Integrative Molecular Neuroresilience at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, said to ALN.

"Inflammation has not only been implicated to contribute to depression, but also to neurodegenerative disorders and systemic metabolic disorders such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Therefore, we believe that the two grape derived compounds our group identified may also provide therapeutic benefits for patients along a spectrum of different disorders."

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