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Hum Exp Toxicol. 2010 Dec;29(12):1026-8. doi: 10.1177/0960327110383640.

Commentary on resveratrol and hormesis: resveratrol--a hormetic marvel in waiting?

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Basic and Clinical Genomics Laboratory, School of Medical Sciences and Bosch Institute, Anderson Stuart Building, University of Sydney, Australia.


Hormesis is a phenomenon in which adaptive responses to low doses of otherwise-harmful factors (also called mild stressors) make cells and organisms more robust. In their review, Calabrese et al. provide evidence for resveratrol acting hormetically in different types of human cell lines. The effects of resveratrol represent a 'two-edged sword' in that it has contrasting effects at low and high doses in healthy and cancerogenous cells. What demarcates a low and a high dose needs to be clarified. Concentrations tested in cell cultures, moreover, may not be relevant to whole organisms. And data from animal models need not apply to humans. Co-morbidities should also be considered. More research is needed to understand the action of resveratrol on all cell types and conditions, and the optimum therapeutic concentration that applies to each of these. Future research needs to determine the dynamics of the effects of resveratrol in different subcellular compartments and the interactions of these. In addition, the interactions between resveratrol, environmental factors, other compounds and medications, diseases and the genetic background of the individual will need to be appreciated in order to gain a complete understanding of the hormetic response of resveratrol.

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