Novel resveratrol derivatives have diverse effects on the survival, proliferation and senescence of primary human fibroblasts

Vishal C. Birar, Angela N. Sheerin, Elizabeth L. Ostler, Richard G.A. Faragher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Resveratrol alters the cytokinetics of mammalian cell populations in a dose dependent manner. Concentrations above 25–50 µM typically trigger growth arrest, senescence and/or apoptosis in multiple different cell types. In contrast, concentrations below 10 µM enhance the growth of log phase cell cultures and can rescue senescence in multiple strains of human fibroblasts. To better understand the structural features that regulate these effects, a panel of 24 structurally-related resveralogues were synthesised and evaluated for their capacity to activate SIRT1, as determined by an ex-vivo SIRT1 assay, their toxicity, as measured by lactate dehydrogenase release, and their effects on replicative senescence in MRC5 human fibroblasts as measured by their effects on Ki67 immunoreactivity and senescence-associated β galactosidase activity. Minor modifications to the parent stilbene, resveratrol, significantly alter the biological activities of the molecules. Replacement of the 3,5-dihydroxy substituents with 3,5-dimethoxy groups significantly enhances SIRT1 activity, and reduces toxicity. Minimising other strong conjugative effects also reduces toxicity, but negatively impacts SIRT1 activation. At 100 µM many of the compounds, including resveratrol, induce senescence in primary MRC5 cells in culture. Modifications that reduce or remove this effect match those that reduce toxicity leading to a correlation between reduction in labelling index and increase in LDH release. At 10 µM, the majority of our compounds significantly enhance the growth fraction of log phase cultures of MRC5 cells, consistent with the rescue of a subpopulation of cells within the culture from senescence. SIRT1 activation is not required for rescue to occur but enhances the size of the effect.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)817-826
Number of pages10
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 13 Aug 2020

Bibliographical note

This is a post-peer-review, pre-copyedit version of an article published in Biogerontology. The final authenticated version is available online at:


  • Resveratrol
  • Senescence
  • SIRT1
  • Toxicity


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