Wine Compound Resveratrol's Latest Role: Killer of Leukemia Cells

Chinese researchers find the organic compound inhibits growth of most-common childhood cancer
Wine Compound Resveratrol's Latest Role: Killer of Leukemia Cells
Resveratrol, a compound that protects plants from pathogens, is found in grape skins and wine. (James Worrell)
Mar 17, 2016

Resveratrol, an organic compound found in grape skins and wine, has shown promise in treating multiple maladies. But scientists are still laboring to understand how it works and how to harness those healing properties.

Now a team of researchers in China has discovered another possible use for resveratrol—as a weapon against leukemia, the most common form of childhood cancer. And how resveratrol appears to combat leukemia cells is yet another wrinkle in this compound's mysteries.

Leukemia is a cancer of the blood. Cancerous blood cells, often the white blood cells that make up our immune system, crowd out healthy cells in the bone marrow where new cells form. While it strikes people over age 55 most often, it is also the most common cancer among children under age 15. Recent advances in therapies and transplant technologies have helped many patients, but the disease still kills hundreds of thousands of people each year.

The new research was published in the International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, and was authored by Binghua Wang, Jiao Liu and Zhanfeng Gong of the Department of Hematology, Wendeng Central Hospital of Weihai, China.

What is interesting about their findings is the manner in which resveratrol fights leukemia, by way of a process called apoptosis—which is different from how resveratrol handles other maladies such as aging, where evidence suggests the compound helps cells repair themselves, or post-trauma healing, in which resveratrol functions as an anti-inflammatory agent.

Apoptosis is controlled cell death, unlike necrosis, which is more traumatic and unpredictable. The study found that resveratrol significantly decreased cell viability and triggered cell apoptosis in leukemia cells.

The test was conducted by exposing cancerous cells to varying dilutions of resveratrol, ranging from 10 micrometers to 160 micrometers, for varying time periods of 24, 48 and 72 hours. Damage to the leukemia cells after treatment with resveratrol was observed in the form of cell shrinkage and membrane deformation, among other signs.

Resveratrol inhibited the growth of the leukemia cells by 60.9 percent after treatment for 24 hours, by 67.9 percent after 48 hours, and by 70.3 percent after 72 hours. The maximum inhibition rate of 70.3 percent was found when the scientists used 160 micrometers for 72 hours. This shows that the effectiveness of resveratrol as a leukemia therapy is dependent on both concentration of dosage and time spent in contact with the target cells.

While the exact mechanism by which resveratrol triggers apoptosis isn't fully clear, the results suggest that this might be due to resveratrol's interference of mitochondrial pathways within the leukemia cell—essentially jamming the communication systems of the cell.

These results show promise for the development of resveratrol as an effective and natural therapy for the treatment of leukemia, particularly among those patients who do not respond to more traditional therapies such as chemotherapy.

Health Cancer Resveratrol News

You Might Also Like

Wine Shipping Watch: Florida Opens Door to Out-of-State Retailer Shipping

Wine Shipping Watch: Florida Opens Door to Out-of-State Retailer Shipping

Plus, Connecticut passed legislation to allow direct shipping; seven other states face …

Aug 19, 2019
Could the Wine Compound Resveratrol Help Manage Depression?

Could the Wine Compound Resveratrol Help Manage Depression?

A new study suggests the heralded polyphenol found in red wine may help your brain ward off …

Aug 15, 2019
Stephen Starr Debuts Restaurant in Hudson Yards

Stephen Starr Debuts Restaurant in Hudson Yards

Plus, chef Amy Brandwein opens a new spot in D.C., Ristorante Morini closes, and more

Aug 15, 2019
The 2019 New York Wine Experience: Gathering for the Good Life

The 2019 New York Wine Experience: Gathering for the Good Life

The October event will feature two days of seminars featuring great bottlings and compellin…

Aug 12, 2019
Moderate Wine Drinkers Live Longer, Study Shows

Moderate Wine Drinkers Live Longer, Study Shows

The debate over alcohol and health gets a positive boost from a detailed analysis of 8,000 …

Aug 7, 2019
California’s Rhys Vineyards Agrees to Pay $3.76 Million for Damage to Mendocino Watershed

California’s Rhys Vineyards Agrees to Pay $3.76 Million for Damage to Mendocino Watershed

State regulators say the winery, founded by Silicon Valley entrepreneur Kevin Harvey, …

Aug 6, 2019
WineRatings+

WineRatings+

Xvalues

Xvalues

Restaurant Search

Restaurant Search