Molecular mechanisms of resveratrol (3,4,5-trihydroxy-trans-stilbene) and its interaction with TNF-related apoptosis inducing ligand (TRAIL) in androgen-insensitive prostate cancer cells

Mol Cell Biochem. 2007 Oct;304(1-2):273-85. doi: 10.1007/s11010-007-9510-x. Epub 2007 Jul 17.


Although resveratrol, an active ingredient derived from grapes and red wine, possesses chemopreventive properties against several cancers, the molecular mechanisms by which it inhibits cell growth and induces apoptosis have not been clearly understood. Here, we examined the molecular mechanisms of resveratrol and its interactive effects with TRAIL on apoptosis in prostate cancer PC-3 and DU-145 cells. Resveratrol inhibited cell viability and colony formation, and induced apoptosis in prostate cancer cells. Resveratrol downregulated the expression of Bcl-2, Bcl-X(L) and survivin and upregulated the expression of Bax, Bak, PUMA, Noxa, and Bim, and death receptors (TRAIL-R1/DR4 and TRAIL-R2/DR5). Treatment of prostate cancer cells with resveratrol resulted in generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS), translocation of Bax to mitochondria and subsequent drop in mitochondrial membrane potential, release of mitochondrial proteins (cytochrome c, Smac/DIABLO, and AIF) to cytosol, activation of effector caspase-3 and caspase-9, and induction of apoptosis. Resveratrol-induced ROS production, caspase-3 activity and apoptosis were inhibited by N-acetylcysteine. Bax was a major proapoptotic gene mediating the effects of resveratrol as Bax siRNA inhibited resveratrol-induced apoptosis. Resveratrol enhanced the apoptosis-inducing potential of TRAIL, and these effects were inhibited by either dominant negative FADD or caspase-8 siRNA. The combination of resveratrol and TRAIL enhanced the mitochondrial dysfunctions during apoptosis. These properties of resveratrol strongly suggest that it could be used either alone or in combination with TRAIL for the prevention and/or treatment of prostate cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents, Hormonal / therapeutic use*
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use
  • Caspases / physiology
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Drug Evaluation, Preclinical
  • Drug Interactions
  • Drug Resistance, Neoplasm* / drug effects
  • Fas-Associated Death Domain Protein / physiology
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / genetics
  • Receptors, TNF-Related Apoptosis-Inducing Ligand / genetics
  • Receptors, Tumor Necrosis Factor / genetics
  • Resveratrol
  • Stilbenes / administration & dosage
  • Stilbenes / pharmacology*
  • TNF-Related Apoptosis-Inducing Ligand / administration & dosage
  • TNF-Related Apoptosis-Inducing Ligand / pharmacology*
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • Antineoplastic Agents, Hormonal
  • FADD protein, human
  • Fas-Associated Death Domain Protein
  • Receptors, TNF-Related Apoptosis-Inducing Ligand
  • Receptors, Tumor Necrosis Factor
  • Stilbenes
  • TNF-Related Apoptosis-Inducing Ligand
  • TNFRSF10A protein, human
  • Caspases
  • Resveratrol