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PLoS One. 2010 Sep 23;5(9):e12935. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0012935.

Protective action of resveratrol in human skin: possible involvement of specific receptor binding sites.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Douglas Mental Health University Institute, McGill University, Montréal, Quebec, Canada.



Resveratrol is a plant-derived polyphenol with purported protecting action on various disorders associated with aging. It has been suggested that resveratrol could exert its protective action by acting on specific plasma membrane polyphenol binding sites (Han Y.S., et al. (2006) J Pharmacol Exp Ther 318:238-245). The purpose of this study was to investigate, in human skin, the possible existence of specific binding sites that mediate the protective action of resveratrol.


Using human skin tissue, we report here the presence of specific [(3)H]-resveratrol binding sites (K(D)  =  180 nM) that are mainly located in the epidermis. Exposure of HaCaT cells to the nitric oxide free radical donor sodium nitroprusside (SNP; 0.3-3 mM) resulted in cell death which was reduced by resveratrol (EC(50)  =  14.7 µM), and to a much lesser extent by the resveratrol analogue piceatannol (EC(50)  =  95 µM) and epigallocatechin gallate (EC(50)  =  200 µM), a green-tea derived polyphenol. The protective action of resveratrol likely relates to its anti-apoptotic effect since at the same range of concentration it was able to reduce both the number of apoptotic cells as well as mitochondrial apoptotic events triggered by SNP.


Taken together, these findings suggest that resveratrol, by acting on specific polyphenol binding sites in epidermis, may be useful to prevent skin disorders associated with aging.

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