Resveratrol (trans-3,4,5-trihydroxystilbene), a natural polyphenolic, non-flavonoid antioxidant, is a phytoalexin found in many plants including grapes, nuts and berries. Recent studies have documented that resveratrol has various health benefits, such as cardiovascular and cancer preventive properties. However, the experimental basis for such health benefit is not fully understood. One of the possible mechanisms for its protective activities is by down regulation of the inflammatory responses. That includes the inhibition of synthesis and release of pro-inflammatory mediators, modifications of eicosanoid synthesis, inhibition of some activated immune cells, or inhibiting the enzymes, such as cyclooxygenase-1 (COX-1) or cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), which are responsible for the synthesis of pro-inflammatory mediators through the inhibitory effect of resveratrol on transcription factors like nuclear factor κB (NFκB) or activator protein-1 (AP-1). Being a phenolic compound, resveratrol certainly possesses a low bioavailability and most importantly, a rapid clearance from the plasma. Recent growing interest in varying protective nature of resveratrol may clinically also hold a respectable position as a better alternative for anti-inflammatory drugs. The purpose of this review is to provide evidence that resveratrol exhibits potent anti-inflammatory activity and also to explain the underling mechanism for both resveratrol- induced cardioprotective and anti-inflammatory properties. While it is true that the cardioprotective properties of resveratrol are likely attributable, at least in part, to its anti-inflammatory properties, the mechanisms discussed address foremost mechanisms for the anti-inflammatory activity which, in turn, is responsible for cardioprotection.
Resveratrol, anti-inflammation, antioxidant, wine, cardioprotection
Cardiovascular Research Center, University of Connecticut, School of Medicine, Farmington, CT 06030-1110, USA.