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Resveratrol is a plant polyphenol found in high concentrations in red grapes that has been proposed as a treatment for hyperlipidemia and to prevent fatty liver, diabetes, atherosclerosis and aging.

Resveratrol (trans-resveratrol, trans-3,5,4'-trihydroxystilbene) is a naturally occurring stilbene analogue found in high concentrations in red wine. There is considerable research interest to determine the therapeuticTrans-Resveratrol (Trihydroxystilbene) potential of resveratrol, as it has been shown to have tumour inhibitory and antioxidant properties. This study was performed to investigate the glucuronidation of resveratrol and possible drug interactions via glucuronidation. Two glucuronide conjugates, resveratrol 3-O-glucuronide and resveratrol 4'-O-glucuronide, were formed by human liver and intestinal microsomes. UGT1A1 and UGT1A9 were predominantly responsible for the formation of the 3-O-glucuronide (Km = 149 microM) and 4'-O-glucuronide (Km = 365 microM), respectively. The glucuronide conjugates were formed at higher levels (up to 10-fold) by intestinal rather than liver microsomes. Resveratrol was co-incubated with substrates of UGT1A1 (bilirubin and 7-ethyl-10-hydroxycamptothecin (SN-38)) and UGT1A9 (7-hydroxytrifluoromethyl coumarin (7-HFC)). No major changes were noted in bilirubin glucuronidation in the presence of resveratrol. Resveratrol significantly inhibited the glucuronidation of SN-38 (Ki = 6.2 +/- 2.1 microM) and 7-HFC (Ki = 0.6 +/- 0.2 microM). Hence, resveratrol has the potential to inhibit the glucuronidation of concomitantly administered therapeutic drugs or dietary components that are substrates of UGT1A1 and UGT1A9.

Most stilbenes in plants act as antifungal phytoalexins, compounds that are usually synthesized only in response to infection or injury. Resveratrol has been detected in trees, in a few flowering plants, in peanuts, and in grapevines. The major dietary sources of resveratrol include grapes, wine, peanuts, and peanut products. Numerous in vitro studies describe different biological effects of resveratrol. The major impacts are the antioxidative, anti-inflammatory, and estrogenic effects as well as anticancer and chemopreventive activities. In order to reveal information on absorption, metabolism, and the consequent bioavailability of resveratrol, different research approaches were performed, including in vitro, ex vivo, and in vivo models, all of which are considered in this review. Summarizing the data, resveratrol is absorbed and metabolized. Around 75% of this polyphenol are excreted via feces and urine. The oral bioavailability of resveratrol is almost zero due to rapid and extensive metabolism and the consequent formation of various metabolites as resveratrol glucuronides and resveratrol sulfates.

Bioavailability of Resveratrol

Reviewing our current understanding of the absorption, bioavailability, and metabolism of resveratrol, with an emphasis on humans. The oral absorption of resveratrol in humans is about 75% and is thought to occur mainly by transepithelial diffusion. Extensive metabolism in the intestine and liver results in an oral bioavailability considerably less than 1%. Dose escalation and repeated dose administration of resveratrol does not appear to alter this significantly. Metabolic studies, both in plasma and in urine, have revealed major metabolites to be glucuronides and sulfates of resveratrol. However, reduced dihydroresveratrol conjugates, in addition to highly polar unknown products, may account for as much as 50% of an oral resveratrol dose. Although major sites of metabolism include the intestine and liver (as expected), colonic bacterial metabolism may be more important than previously thought. Deconjugation enzymes such as β-glucuronidase and sulfatase, as well as specific tissue accumulation of resveratrol, may enhance resveratrol efficacy at target sites.

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