Resveratrol commonly displays hormesis: occurrence and biomedical significance

Hum Exp Toxicol. 2010 Dec;29(12):980-1015. doi: 10.1177/0960327110383625.


Resveratrol induces hormetic dose responses in a wide range of biological models, affecting numerous endpoints of biomedical and therapeutic significance. These responses were reported for numerous human tumor cell lines affecting breast, prostate, colon, lung, uterine and leukemia. In such cases, low concentrations of resveratrol enhanced tumor cell proliferation whereas higher concentrations were inhibitory. Similar resveratrol-induced biphasic dose responses were seen with several parasitic diseases, including Leishmaniasis and trichinella. Hormetic effects were also reported in animal models for cardiovascular induced injury, gastric lesions, ischemic stroke, Alzheimer's disease and osteoporosis. In these cases, there was often a protective effect at low doses but an adverse effect at higher doses, exacerbating the disease process/incidence. This analysis indicates that many effects induced by resveratrol are dependent on dose and that opposite effects occur at low and high doses, being indicative of a hormetic dose response. Despite consistent occurrence of hormetic dose responses of resveratrol in a wide range of biomedical models, epidemiologic and clinical trials are needed to assess the nature of its dose-response in humans.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review
  • Comment

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Biomedical Research* / methods
  • Biomedical Research* / standards
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug*
  • Endpoint Determination
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • Resveratrol
  • Stilbenes / administration & dosage*
  • Stilbenes / pharmacology
  • Stilbenes / toxicity


  • Stilbenes
  • Resveratrol