BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Resveratrol, a popular plant extract shown to
prolong life in yeast and lower animals due to its
anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, appears also to
suppress inflammation in humans, based on results from the first
prospective human trial of the extract conducted by University at
Results of the study appear as a rapid electronic publication on
the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism website and
will be published in an upcoming print issue of the journal.
The paper also has been selected for inclusion in Translational
Research in Endocrinology & Metabolism, a new online anthology
that highlights the latest clinical applications of cutting-edge
research from the journals of the Endocrine Society.
Resveratrol is a compound produced naturally by several plants
when under attack by pathogens such as bacteria or fungi, and is
found in the skin of red grapes and red wine. It also is produced
by chemical synthesis derived primarily from Japanese knotweed and
is sold as a nutritional supplement.
Husam Ghanim, PhD, UB research assistant professor of medicine
and first author on the study, notes that resveratrol has been
shown to prolong life and to reduce the rate of aging in yeast,
roundworms and fruit flies, actions thought to be affected by
increased expression of a particular gene associated with
The compound also is thought to play a role in insulin
resistance as well, a condition related to oxidative stress, which
has a significant detrimental effect on overall health.
"Since there are no data demonstrating the effect of resveratrol
on oxidative and inflammatory stress in humans," says Paresh
Dandona, MD, PhD, UB distinguished professor of medicine and senior
author on the study, "we decided to determine if the compound
reduces the level of oxidative and inflammatory stress in
"Several of the key mediators of insulin resistance also are
pro-inflammatory, so we investigated the effect of resveratrol on
their expression as well."
The study was conducted at Kaleida Health's
Diabetes-Endocrinology Center of Western New York, which Dandona
A nutritional supplement containing 40 milligrams of resveratrol
was used as the active product. Twenty participants were randomized
into two groups of 10: one group received the supplement, while the
other group received an identical pill containing no active
ingredient. Participants took the pill once a day for six weeks.
Fasting blood samples were collected as the start of the trial and
at weeks one, three and six.
Results showed that resveratrol suppressed the generation of
free radicals, or reactive oxygen species, unstable molecules known
to cause oxidative stress and release proinflammatory factors into
the blood stream, resulting in damage to the blood vessel
Blood samples from persons taking resveratrol also showed
suppression of the inflammatory protein tumor necrosis factor (TNF)
and other similar compounds that increase inflammation in blood
vessels and interfere with insulin action, causing insulin
resistance and the risk of developing diabetes.
These inflammatory factors, in the long term, have an impact on
the development of type 2 diabetes, aging, heart disease and
stroke, noted Dandona.
Blood samples from the participants who received the placebo
showed no change in these pro-inflammatory markers.
While these results are promising, Dandona added a caveat: The
study didn't eliminate the possibility that something in the
extract other than resveratrol was responsible for the
"The product we used has only 20 percent resveratrol, so it is
possible that something else in the preparation is responsible for
the positive effects. These agents could be even more potent than
resveratrol. Purer preparations now are available and we intend to
Additional contributors to the study, all from Dandona's
laboratory, are Chang Ling Sia, Sanaa Abuaysheh, Kelly
Korzeniewski, Priyanka Patniak, MD, Anuritha Marumganti, MD, and
Ajay Chaudhuri, MD.
The study was supported in part by grants to Dandona from the
National Institutes of Health and the American Diabetes
The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive
public university, a flagship institution in the State University
of New York system and its largest and most comprehensive campus.
The School of Dental Medicine is one of five schools that
constitute UB's Academic Health Center. UB's more than 28,000
students pursue their academic interests through more than 300
undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs. Founded
in 1846, the University at Buffalo is a member of the Association
of American Universities.