Resveratrol, initially used for cancer therapy, has shown beneficial effects against most degenerative and cardiovascular diseases from atherosclerosis, hypertension, ischemia/reperfusion, and heart failure to diabetes, obesity, and aging. The cardioprotective effects of resveratrol are associated with its preconditioning-like action potentiated by its adaptive response. During preconditioning, small doses of resveratrol can exert an adaptive stress response, forcing the expression of cardioprotective genes and proteins such as heat shock and antioxidant proteins. Similarly, resveratrol can induce autophagy, another form of stress adaptation for degrading damaged or long-lived proteins, as a first line of protection against oxidative stress. Resveratrol's interaction with multiple molecular targets of diverse intracellular pathways (e.g., action on sirtuins and FoxOs through multiple transcription factors and protein targets) intertwines with those of the autophagic pathway to give support in the modified redox environment after stem cell therapy, which leads to prolonged survival of cells. The successful application of resveratrol in therapy is based upon its hormetic action similar to any toxin: exerting beneficial effects at lower doses and cytotoxic effects at higher doses.
© 2011 New York Academy of Sciences.