Diabetes mellitus is a complex metabolic disease affecting about 5% of people all over the world. Data from the literature indicate that resveratrol is a compound exerting numerous beneficial effects in organisms. Rodent studies, for example, have demonstrated that resveratrol decreases blood glucose in animals with hyperglycemia. This effect seems to predominantly result from increased intracellular transport of glucose. Resveratrol was also demonstrated to induce effects that may contribute to the protection of β cells in diabetes. In experiments on pancreatic islets, the ability of resveratrol to reduce insulin secretion was demonstrated; this effect was confirmed in animals with hyperinsulinemia, in which resveratrol decreased blood insulin levels. Moreover, inhibition of cytokine action and attenuation of the oxidative damage of the pancreatic tissue by resveratrol were recently shown. Studies of animals with insulin resistance indicate that resveratrol may also improve insulin action. The mechanism through which resveratrol improves insulin action is complex and involves reduced adiposity, changes in gene expression, and changes in the activities of some enzymes. These data indicate that resveratrol may be useful in preventing and treating diabetes.
© 2011 New York Academy of Sciences.