Scientists reveal molecular secrets behind resveratrol's health benefits

April 29, 2014
Kendall Nettles, Ph.D., is an associate professor at The Scripps Research Institute, Florida campus. Credit: Photo courtesy of The Scripps Research Institute

Resveratrol has been much in the news as the component of grapes and red wine associated with reducing "bad cholesterol," heart disease and some types of cancer. Also found in blueberries, cranberries, mulberries, peanuts and pistachios, resveratrol is associated with beneficial health effects in aging, inflammation and metabolism.

Scientists from the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have now identified one of the molecular pathways that uses to achieve its beneficial action. They found that resveratrol controls the body's inflammatory response as a binding partner with the estrogen receptor without stimulating estrogenic cell proliferation, which is good news for its possible use as a model for drug design.

The study was recently published as an accepted manuscript in the online journal eLife, a publication supported by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Max Planck Society and the Wellcome Trust.

"Estrogen has on conditions like diabetes and obesity but may increase cancer risk," said Kendall Nettles, a TSRI associate professor who led the study. "What hasn't been well understood until now is that you can achieve those same beneficial effects with something like resveratrol."

The problem with resveratrol, Nettles said, is that it really doesn't work very efficiently in the body. "Now that we understand that we can do this through the estrogen receptor, there might compounds other than resveratrol out there that can do the same thing—only better," he said.

"Our findings should lead scientists to reconsider the estrogen receptor as a main target of resveratrol—and any analogues," said Jerome C. Nwachukwu, the first author of the study and a research associates in the Nettles laboratory. "It has gotten swept under the rug."

In the new study, Nettles, Nwachukwu and their colleagues found that resveratrol is an effective inhibitor of interleukin 6 (IL-6), a pro-inflammatory protein that is part of the immune system (although IL-6 can be anti-inflammatory during exercise). High levels of IL-6 are also associated with poor breast cancer patient survival. According to the study, resveratrol regulates IL-6 without stimulating cell proliferation by altering a number of co-regulators of the .

Explore further: Compounds found that alter cell signaling, could lead to new breast cancer treatments

More information: "Resveratrol Modulates the Inflammatory Response via An Estrogen Receptor-Signal Integration Network," eLife, 2014. elifesciences.org/content/early/2014/04/24/eLife.02057

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Researchers design first artificial ribosome

July 29, 2015

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago and Northwestern University have engineered a tethered ribosome that works nearly as well as the authentic cellular component, or organelle, that produces all the proteins ...

Studies reveal details of error correction in cell division

July 29, 2015

Cell biologists led by Thomas Maresca at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, with collaborators elsewhere, report an advance in understanding the workings of an error correction mechanism that helps cells detect and ...

Researchers discover new type of mycovirus

July 29, 2015

Researchers, led by Dr Robert Coutts, Leverhulme Research Fellow from the School of Life and Medical Sciences at the University of Hertfordshire, and Dr Ioly Kotta-Loizou, Research Associate at Imperial College, have discovered ...

Stressed out plants send animal-like signals

July 29, 2015

University of Adelaide research has shown for the first time that, despite not having a nervous system, plants use signals normally associated with animals when they encounter stress.

2 comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

FMA
not rated yet Apr 29, 2014
About 6 to 8 weeks ago, there was an article suggesting resveratrol and aspirin together can work better and have synergy effect.

I have a "pimple" on my face for few years, but I did pay much attention about it. After I have taken the above formulation for few weeks it shrink quite a bit. Now I think it's not a pimple, it may be a "tumour" (it may not be cancerous, I hope). I think I will continue to take the formulation for another few months and conclusion is resveratrol (+aspirin) really works.
ironjustice
not rated yet Apr 30, 2014
It is thought resveratrols' iron chelating properties is what causes it to be so efficient.
"Researchers now convincingly show that, via its iron-chelating effects, resveratrol is able to cross barriers that protect the brain from entry of toxins (blood/brain barrier) and reduce oxidation (spoilage) of fats and increase the activity of protective antioxidant enzymes in the brain of healthy rodents"

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.