Trans-resveratrol: a magical elixir of eternal youth?
Trans-resveratrol or (E)-resveratrol [3,4',5 trihydroxy-trans-stilbene, t-RESV or (E)-RESV] is a natural component of Vitis vinifera L. (Vitaceae), abundant in the skin of grapes (but not in the flesh) and in the leaf epidermis and present in wines (especially red wines). In in vitro, ex vivo and in vivo experiments, t-RESV exhibits a number of biological activities, including anti inflammatory, antioxidant, platelet antiaggregatory and anticarcinogenic properties, and modulation of lipoprotein metabolism. Some of these activities have been implicated in the cardiovascular protective effects attributed to t-RESV and to red wine. Prior to 2002 there had been no previous studies describing the potential effects of t-RESV on the lifespan extension. However, in the last 5 years, several researchers have reported that t-RESV is a potent activator of sirtuin enzymatic activity, mimics the beneficial effects of caloric restriction (CR), retards the aging process and increases longevity in a number of organisms from different phyla such as yeasts, worms, flies and short-lived fish. In addition, t-RESV seems to be effective in delaying the onset of a variety of age-related diseases in mammals (e.g.: rodents). Therefore, this review will basically focus on the possible role of t-RESV to extend life duration and on some of the mechanisms by which t-RESV may act as an anti-aging agent.