The phytoalexin resveratrol (3,4,5-trihydroxy-trans-stilbene) may attenuate cardiovascular disease in man. This study has determined whether treatment with resveratrol (1 mg/kg/day orally) prevented cardiac fibrosis and the decreased cardiovascular function in the DOCA-salt hypertensive rat as a model of human hypertension. Uninephrectomised rats (UNX) administered DOCA (25mg every 4th day sc) and 1% NaCl in drinking water for 28 days developed cardiac and vascular remodelling. In these DOCA-salt rats, resveratrol decreased inflammatory cell infiltration, decreased cardiac fibrosis (left ventricular interstitial and perivascular collagen content) and improved cardiac and vascular function. Resveratrol attenuated other features of cardiovascular remodelling such as increases in systolic blood pressure, left ventricular wet weight, left ventricular wall thickness, diastolic stiffness constant, as well as decreased cardiac contractility and prolonged action potential duration characteristic of DOCA-salt rats. In summary, resveratrol, at a nutritionally relevant dose, prevents or attenuates the adverse changes in the cardiovascular system. We propose that the anti-inflammatory and anti-fibrotic effects of resveratrol are responsible, at least in part, for its amelioration of cardiovascular remodelling in DOCA-salt rats. These actions of resveratrol could play an important role in the protective effects on the human cardiovascular system reported for this constituent of red wine.