Resveratrol, an antioxidant present in red wine, induces apoptosis in human promyelocytic leukemia (HL-60) cells

Cancer Lett. 1999 Jun 1;140(1-2):1-10. doi: 10.1016/s0304-3835(99)00039-7.


Resveratrol, a triphenolic stilbene present in grapes and other plants, has striking antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities which have been considered to be responsible for the beneficial effects of red wine consumption on coronary heart disease. Recent studies reveal that resveratrol can inhibit each step of multistage carcinogenesis. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying anti-tumorigenic or chemopreventive activities of this phytochemical remain largely unknown. In the present work, we have found that resveratrol reduces viability and DNA synthesis capability of cultured human promyelocytic leukemia (HL-60) cells. The growth inhibitory and antiproliferative properties of resveratrol appear to be attributable to its induction of apoptotic cell death as determined by morphological and ultrastructural changes, internucleosomal DNA fragmentation, and increased proportion of the subdiploid cell population. Resveratrol treatment resulted in a gradual decrease in the expression of anti-apoptotic Bcl-2. These results, together with previous findings, suggest the cancer therapeutic as well as chemopreventive potential of resveratrol.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anticarcinogenic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology*
  • Apoptosis*
  • Cell Division / drug effects
  • Cell Nucleus / metabolism
  • Cell Nucleus / ultrastructure
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • DNA / metabolism
  • DNA Fragmentation
  • Electrophoresis, Agar Gel
  • Flow Cytometry
  • HL-60 Cells
  • Humans
  • Leukemia, Promyelocytic, Acute / metabolism
  • Leukemia, Promyelocytic, Acute / pathology*
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2 / metabolism
  • Resveratrol
  • Stilbenes / pharmacology*
  • Time Factors


  • Anticarcinogenic Agents
  • Antioxidants
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2
  • Stilbenes
  • DNA
  • Resveratrol