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Genes Nutr. 2007 Dec;2(3):295-305. doi: 10.1007/s12263-007-0059-9. Epub 2007 Oct 18.

trans-Resveratrol induces apoptosis in human breast cancer cells MCF-7 by the activation of MAP kinases pathways.

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Department of Biology, University of Rome "Tor Vergata", via della Ricerca Scientifica, 00133, Rome, Italy.


Polyphenols represent a large class of plant-derived molecules with a general chemical structure that act as potent free radical scavengers. They have long been recognized to possess several therapeutic activities ranging from anti-thrombotic to antioxidant. Moreover, the capability of polyphenols to act as reducing or oxidizing molecules depends on the presence of environmental metals and on the concentrations used. In this work we demonstrated that the stilbene trans-resveratrol was able to commit human breast cancer MCF-7 cells to apoptosis. Mainly, we evidenced a pivotal role of the mitochondria in this phenomenon as cytochrome c release into the cytosol was found after the treatment. We further showed that trans-resveratrol was able to affect cellular redox state. In particular, it induced an early production of ROS and lipid oxidation, and only later compromised the GSH/GSSG ratio. This mode of action was mirrored by a temporally different activation of JNK and p38(MAPK), with the former rapidly induced and the latter weakly activated at long intervals. The results obtained demonstrate a pro-apoptotic activity for trans-resveratrol, and suggest a preferential activation of different classes of MAP kinases in response to different oxidative stimuli (ROS versus GSH/GSSG alteration).

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