Resveratrol (Rsv) is a polyphenol found in grape skin, red wine, bilberries, blackberries and other foods. Resveratrol is chemopreventive of some cancers, atherosclerosis, aging and inflammatory diseases.
The researchers studied the effects of Rsv on a line of heart muscle tumor cells from mice. Cancers of heart muscles are rare, but cannot be removed easily. Treatment is with radiation and chemotherapy but their prognosis is poor. The researchers studied the ability of resveratrol to block rapid cell division and to promote suicide in abnormal cells (apoptosis).
The abnormal heart cells were treated with various concentrations of resveratrol for various periods of time up to 72 hours. The changes in the cells were studied by microscope and other techniques.
The results showed inhibition of cell proliferation and signs of apoptosis. There was loss of the ability of the cells to adhere to each other, making it difficult for tumors to grow. In contrast, normal heart cells were not damaged by Rsv and became more resistant to norepinephrine-induced apoptosis. (Normal heart muscle cells are usually damaged by high levels of the neurotransmitter norepinephrine.)
CONCLUSION: Rsv causes cell death in a specific line of heart tumor cells, does not damage normal heart muscle cells and, actually, makes normal heart muscle cells resistant to apoptosis. Rsv is known to cause apoptosis in a number of different types of cancer cells, and this study adds to our knowledge of the benefits of Rsv.
The authors state that their purpose is “to develop nutraceutical and functional foods based on dietary Rsv with the aim of preventing or reversing cardiac dysfunctions and diseases.”
NOTE: Apoptosis is a normal type of cell death for abnormal cells, such as cancer cells and autoimmune cells.
PMID: 21541654. Summary #536.