Resveratrol in aging and age-related diseases

Michael Rouse, Josephine M. Egan

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Gerontologists have long-sought genes for longevity, colloquially referred to as the “Methuselah” genes. Most of the quest has taken place in short-lived organisms, such as flies, worms, and mice partly due to the fact that studying longevity in long-lived organisms could mean that any one researcher might be outlived by the object of their study. However, the utilization of short-lived organisms has been fruitful and has led to the discovery and understanding of a whole host of genes and their products. One of most well-known Methuselah genes is Sir2 (silent information regulator 2), which was discovered in a yeast Methuselah in the laboratory of Dr. Leonard P. Guarente. Subsequently, this led to the exploration of a whole family of proteins called sirtuins (named for Sir2), which are found across yeast to mice to humans. Research involving sirtuins and their modifiers led to the discovery of resveratrol (RES), a phytochemical that is naturally occurring in the skin of red grapes and red wine, blueberries, dark chocolate, and peanuts and peanut butter. RES induces and activates sirtuins, thus prolonging the lives of laboratory mice that are fed laboratory chow. Calorie restriction, which has consistently been shown to increase life span in yeast and laboratory mice, also activates sirtuin activity, along with exercise. Therefore, investigators have pursued RES and other sirtuin activators as calorie restriction and exercise mimetics to combat weight gain, obesity-related diseases, and type 2 diabetes. Furthermore, the number of advertisements for RES as a life-extension supplement has significantly increased over the years due to the emergence of its reported health benefits. However, it should be noted that Dr. Guarente himself does not ingest daily RES as it has not been shown to work in humans in the same manner as it does in yeast, flies, and even mice. Here we will discuss the published data on the use of RES in aging and age-related conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationConn's Handbook of Models for Human Aging
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9780128113530
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Aging
  • Cancer
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Diabetes
  • Longevity
  • Neurological diseases
  • Resveratrol


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