The blood-brain barrier (BBB) maintains brain microenvironment. Our previous study showed that oxidized low-density lipoprotein (oxLDL) can damage the BBB by inducing apoptosis of cerebrovascular endothelial cells. This study was aimed at evaluating the effects of resveratrol on high-fat diet-induced insults to the BBB and brain neurons. Exposure of mice to a high-fat diet for 8 weeks increased levels of serum total cholesterol (146 ± 13) and LDL (68 ± 8), but resveratrol decreased such augmentations (119 ± 6; 45 ± 8). Permeability assays showed that a high-fat diet induced breakage of the BBB (88 ± 21). Meanwhile, resveratrol alleviated this interruption (16 ± 6). Neither resveratrol nor a high-fat diet caused the death of cerebrovascular endothelial cells. Instead, exposure to a high-fat diet disrupted the polymerization of occludin and zonula occludens (ZO)-1, but resveratrol significantly attenuated those injuries. Neither a high-fat diet nor resveratrol changed the levels of occludin or ZO-1 in brain tissues. Resveratrol protected brain neurons against high-fat diet-induced caspase-3 activation and genomic DNA fragmentation. This study shows that resveratrol can attenuate the high-fat diet-induced disruption of the BBB via interfering with occludin and ZO-1 tight junctions, and protects against apoptotic insults to brain neurons.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3466-3475
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - Apr 16 2014


  • blood-brain barrier
  • brain neurons
  • high-fat diet
  • resveratrol
  • tight junction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Chemistry(all)


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