Role of resveratrol in regulation of cellular defense systems against oxidative stress

Biofactors. 2018 Jan;44(1):36-49. doi: 10.1002/biof.1399. Epub 2017 Nov 28.


Resveratrol, a natural polyphenolic compound, is found in various kinds of fruits, plants, and their commercial products such as red wine. It has been demonstrated to exhibit a variety of health-promoting effects including prevention and/or treatment of cardiovascular diseases, inflammation, diabetes, neurodegeneration, aging, and cancer. Cellular defensive properties of resveratrol can be explained through its ability of either directly neutralizing reactive oxygen species/reactive nitrogen species (ROS/RNS) or indirectly upregulating the expression of cellular defensive genes. As a direct antioxidant agent, resveratrol scavenges diverse ROS/RNS as well as secondary organic radicals with mechanisms of hydrogen atom transfer and sequential proton loss electron transfer, thereby protecting cellular biomolecules from oxidative damage. Resveratrol also enhances the expression of various antioxidant defensive enzymes such as heme oxygenase 1, catalase, glutathione peroxidase, and superoxide dismutase as well as the induction of glutathione level responsible for maintaining the cellular redox balance. Such defenses could be achieved by regulating various signaling pathways including sirtuin 1, nuclear factor-erythroid 2-related factor 2 and nuclear factor κB. This review provides current understanding and information on the role of resveratrol in cellular defense system against oxidative stress. © 2017 BioFactors, 44(1):36-49, 2018.

Keywords: Nrf2; SIRT1; cellular defense system; oxidative stress; resveratrol.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology*
  • Catalase / genetics
  • Catalase / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation / drug effects*
  • Glutathione Peroxidase / genetics
  • Glutathione Peroxidase / metabolism
  • Heme Oxygenase-1 / genetics
  • Heme Oxygenase-1 / metabolism
  • Humans
  • NF-E2 Transcription Factor / genetics
  • NF-E2 Transcription Factor / metabolism
  • NF-kappa B / genetics
  • NF-kappa B / metabolism
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects
  • Reactive Nitrogen Species / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Reactive Nitrogen Species / metabolism
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Resveratrol
  • Signal Transduction
  • Sirtuin 1 / genetics
  • Sirtuin 1 / metabolism
  • Stilbenes / pharmacology*
  • Superoxide Dismutase / genetics
  • Superoxide Dismutase / metabolism


  • Antioxidants
  • NF-E2 Transcription Factor
  • NF-kappa B
  • Reactive Nitrogen Species
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Stilbenes
  • Catalase
  • Glutathione Peroxidase
  • HMOX1 protein, human
  • Heme Oxygenase-1
  • Superoxide Dismutase
  • SIRT1 protein, human
  • Sirtuin 1
  • Resveratrol