Background: An important function of endothelial cells is to maintain a balance between the
production of vasodilators such as nitric oxide (NO) and vasoconstrictors such as endothelin-1, thereby
maintaining vascular tone and blood flow. However in many disease states, impaired production of NO leads
to vasoconstriction, platelet aggregation and oxidative stress. Resveratrol, a polyphenolic compound found in
peanuts and red wine, has been shown to induce NO production.
Objective: The purpose of the present study was to determine the effect of resveratrol on cultured brain
endothelial cells in two models of pathology characterized by disrupted NO production – hypoxia alone and
then a combination regimen of rapid stretch injury followed by hypoxia.
Method: Mouse brain endothelial cells cultured in resveratrol caused a dose-dependent increase in endothelial
nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) protein expression. Importantly, resveratrol prevented hypoxia-induced decrease
in eNOS expression. This was complemented by reduced cell death, as evidenced by a reduction in propidium
iodide staining. However coincubation of resveratrol with the NO inhibitor, L-NAME, did not prevent this
protection. Rapid stretch injury and hypoxia produced marked cell necrosis and resveratrol significantly
inhibited this death.
Results: Our results suggest that resveratrol can prevent hypoxia-induced blunting of eNOS expression and
protects endothelial cells from hypoxia alone and a combined regimen of rapid stretch injury and hypoxia.
Conclusion: This study has shown for the first time that resveratrol prevents hypoxia-induced decrease in
eNOS expression and protects endothelial cells from hypoxia alone and a combined regimen of rapid stretch
injury and hypoxia.