Resveratrol, 3,5,4’-trihydroxystilbene, found in grapes and present in wine, is without a doubt the most famous plant polyphenol.
In their Highlight in Angewandte Chemie, Stéphane Quideau, Denis Deffieux, and Laurent Pouységu, Universite Bordeaux, France, describe that in 1993 Frankel et al. found the inhibitory effects of resveratrol against the oxidation of human low-density lipoproteins, a chemical event at the onset of the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis. Related earlier studies had claimed the putative role of it in lowering lipid levels, thus possibly underpinning the socalled “French paradox”, the observation of a lower incidence of coronary heart diseases among French people having a diet rich in saturated fats but drinking red wine on a regular basis.
Pezzuto and co-workers found in 1997 resveratrol’s chemopreventive potential against cancer. Resveratrol was shown to be capable of inhibiting enzyme activities and related cellular events associated with tumor initiation, promotion, and progression.
In 2003 Sinclair and coworkers reported the ability of resveratrol to activate sirtuin 1 (Sirt1) and mimic calorie restriction. Sirt1 is a mammalian NAD+-dependent protein deacetylase that promotes cell survival, notably by inactivating the proapoptotic tumor suppressor p53 protein. Calorie restriction is known to slow the pace of aging. It was said to be mimicked in Saccharomyces cerevisiae in the presence of resveratrol by the activation of Sir2 (the yeast homologue of Sirt1), while extending the average lifespan of the cells by 70 %.
Resveratrol was later shown to extend the lifespan of the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans and the fruitfly Drosophilia melanogaster, also in a Sir2-dependent manner. It could also shift the physiology of middle-aged mice on a high-calorie diet towards that of mice on a standard diet, which resulted in a significant increase in their survival.
- Resveratrol Still Has Something To Say about Aging!,
Stéphane Quideau, Denis Deffieux, Laurent Pouységu,
Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2012, 51.