Role of resveratrol and its analogues in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases: focus on recent discoveries

CNS Neurol Disord Drug Targets. 2011 Nov;10(7):849-62. doi: 10.2174/187152711798072310.


Neurodegenerative diseases are a group of chronic, progressive disorders characterized by the gradual loss of neurons in several areas of the central nervous system (CNS). Substantial evidence has documented a common inflammatory mechanism in neurodegeneration. It is known that classical anti-inflammatory agents, steroids and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, have not played a major role in the management of CNS inflammatory conditions. This may be partly due to the natural compartmentation of the brain by the blood-brain barrier. Thus, there is much interest in developing novel anti-inflammatory drugs that may help to prevent or ameliorate CNS inflammation. Resveratrol (RSV) has received considerable attention over the last several decades. Experimental studies have revealed its benefits in several human disease models, including cardio- and neuro-protection, immune regulation and cancer chemoprevention. The broad action spectrum of RSV is explained by the involvement of numerous signaling networks and cellular effector mechanisms. Among them, apoptotic and antioxidant targets have been implicated. Recently, also anti-neuroinflammatory activity has been observed. A number of studies demonstrated that RSV mediates the downregulation of various inflammatory biomarkers such as tumor necrosis factor, cyclooxygenase 2, inducible nitric oxide synthase and interleukins. This activity seems to depend on some structural features of RSV such as the number and the position of hydroxyl groups. In this review, a comprehensive account of multiple intracellular RSV targets involved in neuroinflammation and its analogues design will be treated, pointing to structure/activity relationships.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / drug effects
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Drug Discovery / trends*
  • Humans
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / metabolism
  • Neurons / drug effects
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Resveratrol
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • Signal Transduction / physiology
  • Stilbenes / chemistry*
  • Stilbenes / pharmacology
  • Stilbenes / therapeutic use*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Stilbenes
  • Resveratrol