The protective role of resveratrol against high glucose-induced oxidative stress and apoptosis in HepG2 cells

Abegail Mukhethwa Tshivhase, Tandi Matsha, Shanel Raghubeer*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


High glucose concentrations result in oxidative stress, leading to damage of cellular constituents like DNA, proteins, and lipids, ultimately resulting in apoptosis. Resveratrol, a polyphenol phytoalexin, has been studied for its potential therapeutic effects on diabetes. This study investigated the influence of high glucose (HG) on HepG2 cells and assessed resveratrol's effect on high-glucose-induced oxidative stress and apoptosis. HepG2 cells were cultured for 48 and 72 h with high glucose (40 mM), low resveratrol (25 μM), high resveratrol (50 μM), high glucose + low resveratrol, and high glucose + high resveratrol. After exposure, oxidative and apoptosis-related gene expression was evaluated using quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR), and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) release was measured using the supernatant. In HepG2 cells cultured with high glucose, all antioxidant enzymes (SOD, superoxide dismutase; GPx1, glutathione peroxidase 1; CAT, catalase; Nrf2, nuclear factor erythroid 2–related factor 2; and NQO1, NAD(P)H quinone oxidoreductase 1) were significantly reduced; however, when HepG2 cells were cultured with resveratrol (25 and 50 μM) and high glucose, the expression levels of all antioxidant enzymes were increased. The anti-apoptotic gene (B-cell lymphoma 2; Bcl2) and the DNA repair gene (Oxoguanine glycosylase-1, OGG1) were significantly decreased following high glucose exposure to HepG2 cells. Surprisingly, the expression levels of Bcl2 and OGG1 were notably elevated after resveratrol treatment. Furthermore, high glucose levels increased the LHD release in HepG2 cells, whereas resveratrol treatment reduced the LDH release. Our results demonstrate that resveratrol provides protection against oxidative stress and apoptosis induced by high glucose in HepG2 cells. Hence, resveratrol shows potential as an effective approach to address the impaired antioxidant response resulting from elevated glucose levels commonly observed in diabetes and metabolic disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3574-3584
Number of pages11
JournalFood Science and Nutrition
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2024
Externally publishedYes


  • apoptosis
  • high glucose
  • hyperglycemia
  • oxidative stress
  • resveratrol


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