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How resveratrol helps combat breast cancer

How resveratrol helps combat breast cancer

Tuesday, October 11, 2011. The October 11, 2011 issue of the Federation of the American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) Journal reports the finding of Italian and U.S. researchers of an ability for resveratrol to inhibit the growth-promoting effects of estrogen in breast cancer cells. Resveratrol occurs in red grapes and wine, and is believed to be one of the compounds responsible for the' health benefits associated with consuming these foods.

"An accumulation of data has shown that the anticancer properties of resveratrol are related to its ability to down-regulate NF-kB [nuclear factor kappa-beta] activation, to cause cell cycle arrest in the G1 phase, or to trigger apoptosis in a variety of cancer cell lines," write Sebastiano Andò of the Faculty of Pharmacy at the University of Calabria and his associates in their introduction to the article. "Recent data show induction of apoptosis [programmed cell death] by resveratrol through MAPK-mediated p53 activation. Also, resveratrol binds specifically to several peptides such as breast cancer-associated antigen, breast cancer resistance protein, death-associated transcription factor, and estrogen receptors and can exert either estrogenic or antiestrogenic effects depending on the concentration."

The team evaluated the effects of resveratrol in several estrogen-receptor-positive breast cancer cell lines, including cells that are resistant to treatment with the estrogen receptor antagonist drug tamoxifen. They observed a reduction in the proliferation of treated cells compared to cells that were not treated with resveratrol. Further experimentation revealed that resveratrol significantly lowered the cells' estrogen receptor levels in addition to acting via other mechanisms to inhibit their growth.

"Resveratrol is a potential pharmacological tool to be exploited when breast cancer become resistant to the hormonal therapy," stated Dr Andò.

Although FASEB Journal Editor-in-Chief Gerald Weissmann, MD, does not recommend that breast cancer patients drink wine in an attempt to treat their disease, he predicted that "Scientists haven't finished distilling the secrets of good health that have been hidden in natural products such as red wine."

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Resveratrol shows preventive benefit against metabolic syndrome

Resveratrol shows preventive benefit against metabolic syndrome

The September, 2011 issue of Diabetes published the finding of researchers at the University of Alberta of a protective effect for resveratrol, a compound found in red grapes and other plant foods, against the development of metabolic syndrome, a group of symptoms that increase the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Jason Dyck of the University of Alberta's departments of Pediatrics and Pharmacology and his colleagues exposed pregnant rats to a normal environment or one that was low in oxygen during the latter third of their gestational periods. (Oxygen deprivation can restrict fetal growth as well as increase the risk of metabolic syndrome later in life.) The animals' offspring were given high fat diets after weaning, and some were supplemented with resveratrol for nine weeks. Glucose tolerance, insulin resistance, abdominal fat, and triglyceride and free fatty acid levels were measured at the end of the treatment period in order to evaluate the development of metabolic syndrome.

While rats that were exposed to a hypoxic environment had more severe symptoms of metabolic syndrome compared to those that were exposed to a normal environment, animals that received resveratrol had less abdominal fat, better lipid levels, lower peripheral triglyceride levels, and improvements in insulin resistance and glucose tolerance compared to those that did not receive the compound.

"There is a concept that in utero, there are genetic shifts that are occurring – reprogramming is occurring because of this strenuous environment babies are in, that allows them to recover very quickly after birth," Dr Dyck explained. "When babies are growth-restricted, they usually have a catch-up period after they are born where they catch up to non-growth-restricted groups. It might be that reprogramming that creates this kind of 'thrifty' phenotype, where they want to consume and store and get caught up. That reprogramming appears to make them more vulnerable to developing a host of metabolic problems."

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