Resveratrol disrupts peroxynitrite-triggered mitochondrial apoptotic pathway: a role for Bcl-2
Resveratrol (3,4',5-trihydroxystilbene) is a phytochemical believed to be partly responsible for the cardioprotective effects of red wine due to its numerous biological activities. Here, we studied biochemical pathways underlying peroxynitrite-mediated apoptosis in endothelial cells and potential mechanisms responsible for resveratrol cytoprotective action. Peroxynitrite triggered endothelial cell apoptosis through caspases-8, -9 and -3 activation implying both mitochondrial and death receptor apoptotic pathways. Resveratrol was able to prevent peroxynitrite-induced caspases-3 and -9 activation, but not caspase-8 activation. Additionally, peroxynitrite increased intracellular levels of Bax without affecting those of Bcl-2, increasing consequently the Bax/Bcl-2 ratio. This ratio decreased when cells where pre-incubated with 10 and 50 muM resveratrol, mainly due to resveratrol ability per se to increase Bcl-2 intracellular levels without affecting Bax intracellular levels. These results propose an additional mechanism whereby resveratrol may exert its cardioprotective effects and suggest a key role for Bcl-2 in the resveratrol anti-apoptotic action, especially in disrupting peroxynitrite-triggered mitochondrial pathway.