Calorie restriction is one of the most effective nutritional interventions that reproducibly protects against obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Recent evidence suggests that even when implemented over a short period, calorie restriction is a safe and effective treatment for cardiovascular disease. Herein, we review the effects of calorie restriction on the cardiovascular system as well as the biological effects of resveratrol, the most widely studied molecule that appears to mimic calorie restriction. An overview of microarray data reveals that the myocardial transcriptional effects of calorie restriction overlap with the transcriptional responses to resveratrol treatment. In addition, calorie restriction and resveratrol modulate similar pathways to improve mitochondrial function, reduce oxidative stress and increase nitric oxide production that are involved in atherosclerosis prevention, blood pressure reduction, attenuation of left-ventricular hypertrophy, resistance to myocardial ischemic injury and heart failure prevention. We also review the data that suggest that the effects of calorie restriction and resveratrol on the cardiovascular system may involve signaling through the silent information regulator of transcription (SIRT), Akt and the AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) pathways. While accumulating data demonstrate the health benefits of calorie restriction and resveratrol in experimental animal models, whether these interventions translate to patients with cardiovascular disease remains to be determined.
2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.