Trans-resveratrol, a phenolic compound present in wine, has been reported to be a potential cancer chemopreventive agent. However, although it has numerous biological activities in vitro, there are few data about its bioavailability and tissue distribution in vivo. The objectives of this study were to investigate the absorption and tissue distribution of 14C-trans-resveratrol following oral administration to mice. Male Balb/c mice were given a single oral dose of 14C-trans-resveratrol and were sacrificed at 1.5, 3 or 6 h postdose. The distribution of radioactivity in tissues was evaluated using whole-body autoradiography, quantitative organ-level determination and microautoradiography. In addition, identification of radioactive compounds in kidney and liver was done with high-performance liquid chromatography. Autoradiographic survey of mice sections as well as radioactivity quantification in various organs revealed a preferential fixation of 14C-trans-resveratrol in the organs and biological liquids of absorption and elimination (stomach, liver, kidney, intestine, bile, urine). Moreover, we show that 14C-trans-resveratrol derived radioactivity is able to penetrate the tissues of liver and kidney, a finding supported by microautoradiography. The presence of intact 14C-trans-resveratrol together with glucurono- and/or sulfoconjugates in these tissues was also shown. This study demonstrates that trans-resveratrol is bioavailable following oral administration and remains mostly in intact form. The results also suggest a wide range of target organs for cancer chemoprevention by wine polyphenols in humans.