In this new study, the researchers looked at the ability of resveratrol to suppress T cell activity, which may seem like a bad thing since T cells are a powerful part of the immune system. However, when T cells are activated in large quantities, there is a corresponding increase in cytokines, a large group of cell messengers and cell regulators that includes several involved in immune response, including the inflammatory response.
In this study, the use of the term cytokine refers to immunomodulating agents, such as interleukins (specifically: IL-2, IL-4, IL-5) and interferons (IFNy). They found that resveratrol (through a series of processes) increases the expression of Sirt1, and the activation of Sirt1 decreases the expression of various immunomodulating chemicals, which reduces inflammation. Additionally, when Sirt1 is inhibited, cells become less responsive to insulin, so it likely plays a role in the development of diabetes.
There is a potential downside to this, as well. It's possible that for some people whose immune systems are compromised there would a greater vulnerability to disease with the down-regulation of T cells and immune system agents.
The wider implication of this study is that resveratrol may be a useful treatment to prevent diabetes and possibly, as well, to treat autoimmune disorders, such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus.
I'm just posting the abstract, but you can read the whole article at the link in the title.
Ting Zou, Yi Yang, Fei Xia, Anfei Huang, Xiaoming Gao, Deyu Fang, Sidong Xiong, Jinping ZhangFull Citation:
Resveratrol, a natural polyphenol compound, has broad effects on critical events, including inflammation, oxidation, cancer and aging. However, the function and molecular mechanisms of resveratrol on T cell activation are controversial. In the present study, we found that resveratrol significantly inhibits the activation and cytokine production of T cells in vitro and in vivo. Sirt1 expression was up-regulated in resveratrol-treated T cells. Once Sirt1 was down-regulated in the T cells, the resveratrol-induced inhibition of T cell activation noticeably diminished. The acetylation of c-Jun decreased and its translocation was impeded in the resveratrol-treated T cells. The incidence and severity of collagen-induced arthritis in the resveratrol-treated mice were considerably reduced.
Zou T, Yang Y, Xia F, Huang A, Gao X, et al. (2013, Sep 20). Resveratrol Inhibits CD4+ T Cell Activation by Enhancing the Expression and Activity of Sirt1. PLoS ONE, 8(9): e75139. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0075139