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Resveratrol Investigated as Treatment for Lung Disease

March 2004

LE Magazine March 2004
Resveratrol Investigated as Treatment for Lung Disease

Researchers at the National Heart and Lung Institute in London, England, are examining resveratrol as a possible treatment for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, a condition usually caused by cigarette smoking. No effective treatment currently exists for this progressive disease.

Preliminary data indicate that resveratrol may work better than dexamethasone, a corticosteroid drug sometimes used to treat chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. When resveratrol was added to lung cells taken from people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, inflammatory factors were reduced 79-94%.1 While both resveratrol and dexamethasone inhibit inflammation that damages lung cells, only resveratrol blocks IL-8, a factor that is highly elevated in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Moreover, resveratrol, unlike dexamethasone, has no side effects. Researchers say the only drawback involving resveratrol is achieving and maintaining sufficient levels of this phyto-vitamin in the lungs.

Resveratrol is emerging as an important agent in the prevention and treatment of several serious conditions. Scientific studies have documented its anti-inflammatory effects, from reversing inflammatory damage to blood vessels to halting the spread of cancer.2

—Terri Mitchel


1. Culpitt SV, Rogers DF, Fenwick PS, et al. Inhibition by red wine extract, resveratrol, of cytokine release by alveolar macrophages in COPD. Thorax. 2003 Nov;58(11):942-6.

2. Kimura Y, Okuda H. Resveratrol isolated from Polygonum cuspidatum root prevents tumor growth and metastasis to lung and tumor-induced neovascularization in Lewis lung carcinoma-bearing mice. J Nutr. 2001 Jun;131(6):1844-9.

Lycopene Inhibits Growth of Normal Prostate Cells

The dietary carotenoid lycopene has been demonstrated in several studies to be associated with a reduction in prostate cancer cell growth. In the first study to test the effects of lycopene on noncancerous cells, researchers from the University of California at Davis found that lycopene also has an inhibitory effect on the growth of normal prostate epithelial cells in vitro.* The researchers speculate that lycopene could have preventive or therapeutic benefits in benign prostate hyperplasia (enlargement of the prostate gland), which frequently occurs in older men and may precede the development of prostate cancer.

In the study, a solution of varying concentrations of synthetic lycopene was added to normal prostate epithelial cells. Control cell cultures received the solution without lycopene or no treatment. Lycopene was found to significantly and dose-dependently inhibit prostate epithelial cell growth in concentrations of 1 micromole per liter or greater. At a concentration of 2 micromoles per liter, an approximate 80% inhibition of prostate epithelial cell growth was achieved. This degree of growth inhibition is greater than that previously reported for lycopene when tested on prostate cancer cells. While studies have found a 20-25% inhibition in growth on several prostate cancer cell lines using 5 micromoles per liter of lycopene, the UC-Davis study found a 20% reduction in normal cells at only 0.3 micromoles per liter.

Lycopene is one of the carotenoid compounds that preferably accumulate in the human prostate. If lycopene inhibits prostate cell growth in vitro, it is reasonable to anticipate that it may also be found to do so in the body. By inhibiting normal prostate cell proliferation, lycopene consumption could reduce the risk of developing prostate cancer.

—Dayna Dye


* Obermuller-Jevic UC, Olano-Martin E, Corbacho AM, et al. Lycopene inhibits the growth of normal human prostate epithelial cells in vitro. J Nutr. 2003 Nov;133(11):3356-