Excess production of reactive oxygen species in the brain has been implicated as a common underlying risk factor for the pathogenesis of a number of neurodegenerative disorders, including Alzheimer's disease (AD), Parkinson's disease (PD), and stroke. In recent years, there is considerable interest concerning investigation of antioxidative and anti-inflammatory effects of phenolic compounds from different botanical sources. In this review, we first describe oxidative mechanisms associated with stroke, AD, and PD, and subsequently, we place emphasis on recent studies implicating neuroprotective effects of resveratrol, a polyphenolic compound derived from grapes and red wine. These studies show that the beneficial effects of resveratrol are not only limited to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory action but also include activation of sirtuin 1 (SIRT1) and vitagenes, which can prevent the deleterious effects triggered by oxidative stress. In fact, SIRT1 activation by resveratrol is gaining importance in the development of innovative treatment strategies for stroke and other neurodegenerative disorders. The goal here is to provide a better understanding of the mode of action of resveratrol and its possible use as a potential therapeutic agent to ameliorate stroke damage as well as other age-related neurodegenerative disorders.
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