Resveratrol is a polyphenol produced by plants that has multiple beneficial activities similar to those associated with caloric restriction (CR), such as increased life span and delay in the onset of diseases associated with aging. CR improves neuronal health, and the global beneficial effects of CR have been postulated to be mediated by the nervous system. One key enzyme thought to be activated during CR is the AMP-activated kinase (AMPK), a sensor of cellular energy levels. AMPK is activated by increases in the cellular AMP:ATP ratio, whereupon it functions to help preserve cellular energy. In this regard, the regulation of dietary food intake by hypothalamic neurons is mediated by AMPK. The suppression of nonessential energy expenditure by activated AMPK along with the CR mimetic and neuroprotective properties of resveratrol led us to hypothesize that neuronal activation of AMPK could be an important component of resveratrol activity. Here, we show that resveratrol activated AMPK in Neuro2a cells and primary neurons in vitro as well as in the brain. Resveratrol and the AMPK-activating compound 5-aminoimidazole-4-carboxamide-1-β-D- ribofuranoside (AICAR) promoted robust neurite outgrowth in Neuro2a cells, which was blocked by genetic and pharmacologic inhibition of AMPK. Resveratrol also stimulated mitochondrial biogenesis in an AMPK-dependent manner. Resveratrol-stimulated AMPK activity in neurons depended on LKB1 activity but did not require the NAD-dependent protein deacetylase SIRT1 during this time frame. These findings suggest that neuronal activation of AMPK by resveratrol could affect neuronal energy homeostasis and contribute to the neuroprotective effects of resveratrol.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7217-7222
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number17
StatePublished - Apr 24 2007


  • Caloric restriction
  • Neuronal energy
  • Neuronal protection


Dive into the research topics of 'Resveratrol stimulates AMP kinase activity in neurons'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this