Reduced calorie intake is a religious and medical practice known since very old times, but its direct influence on life span in all organisms, included humans, has been demonstrated in the modern era. Not only periodic fasting, but also natural or synthetic compounds that mimic this phenomenon are growing to slow aging and the onset of chronic morbidities. Resveratrol (RSV), a plant polyphenol, is an elixir of longevity for simple organisms and preclinical rodent models even if a beneficial role in humans is still debated. Its main rejuvenating mechanism copes with the activation of specific longevity genes called sirtuins. Among seven known mammalian sirtuins, sirtuin 1 is the most studied. This pleiotropic nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD)-based deacetylase maintains longevity by removing acetyl group in nuclear histones, transcription factors, and other DNA repairing proteins. Actually, an exciting challenge is to discover and test novel sirtuin 1 activators to extend life span and to treat age-associated disabilities. This chapter updates on the antiaging effect of RSV and sirtuin 1 activators in experimental animals and in humans. Finally, pros and cons on RSV analogues and sirtuin 1 activators tested in preclinical and clinical trials to hamper neurological deficit, cardiovascular complications, diabetes, bone and muscle deterioration, and cancer are discussed.
Part of the book: Resveratrol