Roger Corder, PhD

Roger Corder, PhD


Roger Corder is Professor of Experimental Therapeutics in the William Harvey Research Institute, at Barts & the London, Queen Mary’s School of Medicine & Dentistry, London, UK. He trained as a pharmacist with a BSc in Pharmacy in 1977 and an MSc in Pharmacology in 1981. His PhD studies were in endocrinology and chemical pathology, and he was awarded a PhD in 1986 by the University of London for his studies of neuropeptide Y.

In 1991 he was recruited to the William Harvey Research Institute by Nobel Laureate, Sir John Vane to lead research on the endothelins. Over the past decade his main interest has been the links between diabetes and heart disease. This led him to focus on the importance of improving health and wellbeing through diet, and triggered his research on the health benefits of red wine consumption.

To widen understanding of the benefits of regular moderate consumption of red wine, and to promote the importance of optimal nutrition for better long-term health Corder recently published The Red Wine Diet. This book outlines the evidence for making a daily glass or two of red wine part of a healthy diet, and describes the best types of wine for maximal benefit. It also counters many of the diet myths and advice promoted in recent years by providing detailed nutrition guidelines for optimal health – creating a strategy for combining good food and wine in order to live a longer healthier life.

Prof. Corder is registered as a practicing member of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine. He is also a member of the American Heart Association (Council for High Blood Pressure Research, and Council for Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis & Vascular Biology), and the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics.


Cardiovascular Actions of Procyanidin-rich Foods and Beverages

Consumption of flavonoid-rich diets is associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) [1,2]. This association is particularly strong for foods and beverages with high procyanidin content [1,2]. In previous investigations we indentified oligomeric procyanidins (OPC) as the polyphenol component in red wine with greatest protective effect on blood vessel function, and concluded that OPC could account for the anti-atherosclerotic actions of regular red wine consumption [3]. Consistent with this, red wines from areas with a low incidence of heart disease (and increased longevity) had higher concentrations of OPC than wines from other areas [3].

Other important dietary sources of OPC include apples, cocoa, and cranberries. Cranberry consumption is mostly studied in relation to the beneficial effects of type-A procyanidins on urinary tract health. However, when the anti-atherosclerotic actions of OPC are also considered the daily consumption of cranberry juice is likely to have multiple health benefits.

Excess endothelin-1 (ET-1) synthesis, as a characteristic of endothelial dysfunction, is a recognized precursor of vascular disease including atherosclerosis. The inhibitory effect of OPC-rich products on ET-1 synthesis by cultured endothelial cells is a convenient system for characterizing and quantifying their anti-atherosclerotic potential [4]. In recent investigations we have compared the endothelial actions of cranberry juice with red wine using immunocytochemical analysis of endothelial cell responses, and detailed characterization of changes in gene expression with Affymetrix microarray technology.

This demonstrated a very comparable profile of activity for cranberry juice and red wine. We also examined the mechanism of action on endothelial cells and concluded that it was not due to the antioxidant properties of cranberry polyphenols. The profile of action of OPCs indicates that a specific structure activity relationship underlies these actions, leading to the conclusion that an OPC receptor mediates this response [5].

Bioavailability of OPC is a critical consideration to correlate with these vascular actions. Investigations of bioavailability and the problems associated with identifying OPC in blood and urine will be discussed. Future clinical trials of OPC-rich products are likely to provide further support for the beneficial effects of OPC for treating and preventing cardiovascular disease.

1. Mink PJ, Scrafford CG, Barraj LM, Harnack L, Hong CP, Nettleton JA, Jacobs DR Jr. Flavonoid intake and cardiovascular disease mortality: a prospective study in postmenopausal women. Am J Clin Nutr. 2007; 85: 895-909.

2. L. Hooper, P. A Kroon, E. B Rimm, J. S Cohn, I. Harvey, K. A Le Cornu, J. J Ryder, W. L Hall, and A. Cassidy Flavonoids, flavonoid-rich foods, and cardiovascular risk: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials Am. J. Clin Nutr. 2008; 88: 38 – 50.

3. Corder R, Mullen W, Khan NQ, Marks SC, Wood EG, Carrier MJ, Crozier A. Oenology: red wine procyanidins and vascular health. Nature 2006; 444: 566.

4. Corder R, Douthwaite JA, Lees DM, Khan NQ, Viseu Dos Santos AC, Wood EG, Carrier MJ. Endothelin-1 synthesis reduced by red wine. Nature 2001; 414: 863-4.

5. Corder R. Red wine, chocolate and vascular health: developing the evidence base. Heart 2008; 94: 821 – 823.