Resveratrol (3,5,4'-trihydroxy-trans-stilbene) belongs to polyphenols' stilbenoids group, possessing two phenol rings linked to each other by an ethylene bridge. This natural polyphenol has been detected in more than 70 plant species, especially in grapes' skin and seeds, and was found in discrete amounts in red wines and various human foods. It is a phytoalexin that acts against pathogens, including bacteria and fungi. As a natural food ingredient, numerous studies have demonstrated that resveratrol possesses a very high antioxidant potential. Resveratrol also exhibit antitumor activity, and is considered a potential candidate for prevention and treatment of several types of cancer. Indeed, resveratrol anticancer properties have been confirmed by many in vitro and in vivo studies, which shows that resveratrol is able to inhibit all carcinogenesis stages (e.g., initiation, promotion and progression). Even more, other bioactive effects, namely as anti-inflammatory, anticarcinogenic, cardioprotective, vasorelaxant, phytoestrogenic and neuroprotective have also been reported. Nonetheless, resveratrol application is still being a major challenge for pharmaceutical industry, due to its poor solubility and bioavailability, as well as adverse effects. In this sense, this review summarized current data on resveratrol pharmacological effects.
Keywords: anticancer; antimicrobial; antioxidant; pharmacological activity; physiological effects; resveratrol.