Resveratrol: A New Discovery

Resveratrol is already believed to have a number of health benefits, including reducing the risk of heart disease and fighting the effects of aging. Now, scientists have made an additional discovery about a protein, linked to resveratrol, that keeps cells healthy over a long period of time.

Investigators led by researchers from Northwestern University discovered that the protein SIRT1, which is activated by resveratrol, regulates another protein, (heat shock factor 1 (HSF1), keeping it active.

In turn, HSF1 senses damage in cells and works to keep them functional. Until now, the linking of SIRT1 with HSF1 hasn’t been known

"When SIRT1 levels are high, you are in a high-protection mode," said team leader professor of biochemistry, molecular biology and cell biology in Northwestern University’s Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences.

"Ironically, triggering the stress response and perhaps maintaining the cell in a protective state over a long period of time can keep cells healthy," said Morimoto. "The cell is protected against an accumulation of damage when HSF1 is more active."

SIRT1 levels decrease as humans age, Morimoto explains. Cells can't respond to stress as well. This decrease in SIRT1 may help explain why “protein misfolding” diseases, such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, Huntington's and adult-onset diabetes, are diseases of aging.

The findings were published in the journal Science.

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