Antioxidant effect of trans-resveratrol, pterostilbene, quercetin and their combinations in human erythrocytes in vitro

Plant Foods Hum Nutr. 2010 Mar;65(1):57-63. doi: 10.1007/s11130-010-0154-8.


There is evidence that a diet rich in fruit and vegetables may reduce the risk of cancer and other degenerative diseases. However, potential health impact of bioactive phytochemicals is limited by their low amount and relatively poor bioavailability. It has been suggested that the health benefits associated with fruit and red wine consumption could be due to the whole antioxidant pool of the diet microcomponents. In this study, the antioxidant activities of trans-resveratrol, pterostilbene and quercetin, and the effect of their combination were investigated in human erythrocytes in vitro. H(2)O(2)-induced lipid peroxidation was assessed by measuring the amount of thiobarbituric acid reactive species. Quercetin and pterostilbene protected erythrocyte membranes against lipid peroxidation (IC(50) values = 64 +/- 8.7 microM and 44.5 +/- 7.8 microM, respectively). Resveratrol was significantly less effective. However, the three compounds protected the erythocytes against hemolysis and GSH (reduced glutathione) depletion to the same extent. Combinations consisting of two compounds (molar ratio 1:1) influenced lipid peroxidation in a concentration-dependent manner. At lower concentrations, resveratrol with quercetin or pterostilbene inhibited synergistically the oxidative injury of membrane lipids At higher concentrations, an additive effect was observed. These protective effects may partially explain the health benefit of these bioactive microcomponents when together in the diet.

MeSH terms

  • Antioxidants / pharmacology*
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Drug Combinations
  • Drug Synergism
  • Erythrocytes / drug effects*
  • Erythrocytes / metabolism
  • Glutathione / blood
  • Hemolysis / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • Lipid Metabolism / drug effects
  • Lipid Peroxidation / drug effects*
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Quercetin / pharmacology*
  • Resveratrol
  • Stilbenes / pharmacology*


  • Antioxidants
  • Drug Combinations
  • Plant Extracts
  • Stilbenes
  • pterostilbene
  • Quercetin
  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • Glutathione
  • Resveratrol