Potential non-neoplastic applications for polyphenols in stem cell utilization

E. Paul Cherniack, Sahithi Chekuri, Heather F. Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


While polyphenols may have important effects on pluripotential stem cells that make them noteworthy as potential antineoplastic agents, their action on stem cells may portend other health benefits, such as treatments for cardiovascular and neurocognitive disorders. Resveratrol, the beststudied polyphenol, has been found to enable stem cells to differentiate into cardiomyocytes, neurons, osteocytes, and pancreatic beta cells, as well as facilitating augmentation of stem cell populations and protecting them from toxic injury. Curcumin protects mesenchymal stem cells from toxicity, and prevents them from facilitating chondrocytic hypertrophy. Quercetin enabled osteocytic and pancreatic beta cell differentiation, and protected neuronal stem cells from injury. Epigallocatechin gallate prevented damage to osteocyte precursors and averted differentiation into undesirable adipocytes. Genistein facilitated osteogenesis while preventing adipogenesis. Several other polyphenols, daidzein, caffeic and chlorogenic acid, kaempferol, and piceatannol, protect stems cells from reactive oxygen species and foster stem cells differentiation away from adipocytic and toward osteocytic lineages. Further research should better elucidate the pharmacokinetic profiles of each polyphenol, explore novel delivery systems, and expand investigation beyond rodent models to additional species.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)347-353
Number of pages7
JournalCurrent drug targets
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019


  • Epigallocatechin gallate
  • Genistein
  • Osteocytic lineages
  • Polyphenol stem cell
  • Quercetin
  • Resveratrol

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology
  • Drug Discovery
  • Clinical Biochemistry


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