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A sip of resveratrol and a full p53: Ingredients for a successful cell death
Date:11/13/2012

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil- Resveratrol is a naturally occurring dietary compound found in grapes, berries, and peanuts. This polyphenol protects plants against pathogens such as bacteria and fungi by inducing cell death in invading organisms. The compound was discovered in red wine in 1939 but by large did not attract the attention of the scientific community. More recently, pre-clinical studies have revealed the many beneficial properties of resveratrol. These include antidiabetic, cardioprotective, and chemopreventive effects. The latter has been associated to resveratrol antioxidant and anti-inflammatory proprieties.

A number of studies show that resveratrol induces cell death in different types of cancers, both in humans and animal models. However, the potential anti-tumor effect of resveratrol is still little understood as the compound seems to induce cell death in a number of cancer cells whereas in others no effect is observed, even when massive doses of resveratrol are used. A phase I study on the pharmacokinetic properties of resveratrol as a potential cancer chemopreventive agent has concluded that consumption of high levels of resveratrol would be insufficient to provide the amounts of resveratrol needed to elicit its chemopreventive proprieties. Nevertheless, a few ongoing clinical trials investigate the effects of resveratrol on a number of diseases, including colon cancer.

More recently, the anti-tumor functions of resveratrol have been associated to p53, a protein responsible for suppressing tumor development in the body. p53 is one of the main blockers of the cell cycle, leading cells to the death row. A faulty p53 is unable to suppress cell growth, which ultimately results in tumor development. Indeed, studies have shown that p53 is either defective or simply absent in most cancers.

To investigate whether resveratrol anti-tumor effects, as observed in some cancer cell lines, depend on the status of the cell's p53 gene,
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Contact: Jerson Lima Silva
jerson@bioqmed.ufrj.br
55-212-562-6756
Publicase Comunicao Cientfica
Source:Eurekalert

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