Beneficial and cautionary outcomes of resveratrol supplementation in pregnant nonhuman primates

Victoria H.J. Roberts, Lynley D. Pound, Stephanie R. Thorn, Melanie B. Gillingham, Kent L. Thornburg, Jacob E. Friedman, Antonio E. Frias, Kevin L. Grove

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

96 Scopus citations


Resveratrol has been proposed as a potential therapeutic to improve metabolic health during pregnancy, yet little is known about the fetal effects of this maternal dietary supplement. We hypothesized that when administered to pregnant nonhuman primates (NHPs), resveratrol would increase uterine blood flow and mitigate the harmful consequences of maternal Western-style diet (WSD) consumption. NHPs were fed a WSD (36% fat) supplemented with 0.37% resveratrol throughout pregnancy. Outcomes were compared with cohorts fed WSD alone and control chow (14% fat) to distinguish between WSD and resveratrol-specific effects in these animals. In the early third trimester, uterine blood flow was measured by Doppler ultrasound before fetal delivery and tissue collection. Resveratrol resulted in 30% maternal weight loss and improved glucose tolerance, increased uterine artery volume blood flow, and decreased placental inflammation and liver triglyceride deposition. In addition, fetal pancreatic mass was enlarged by 42%, with a 12-fold increase in proliferation by Ki67 immunohistochemistry. These results demonstrate that resveratrol use during pregnancy yields improvements in maternal and placental phenotype with beneficial effects in the fetal liver but an unexplained and concerning alteration in fetal pancreatic development, which strongly cautions against the use of resveratrol by pregnant women.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2466-2477
Number of pages12
JournalFASEB Journal
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2014


  • Insulin resistance
  • Pancreas
  • Uterine blood flow
  • Western-style diet

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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