BACKGROUND : The cardiovascular benefits of resveratrol (RSV) have been well established by previous experimental and clinical studies. The aim of this study was to investigate the effectiveness of RSV administration on the impaired endothelial function induced by methylglyoxal (MGO), and to elucidate the role of endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) on its protective effect. METHODS : Aged Wistar rats (80 weeks old, n = 15) were used in this study. The thoracic aorta was isolated and cut into rings for organ culture. Aortic segments of rats were incubated with MGO (420 µM) in the presence or absence of RSV (30 µM) for 4 h (short-term) or 24 h (long-term). Isometric tension studies were performed by an isolated organ bath in response to acetylcholine (ACh, an endothelium-dependent vasodilator) and sodium nitroprusside (SNP, an endothelium-independent vasodilator). Beside, expressions of eNOS and phospho-eNOS (p-eNOS) (Ser 1177) in thoracic aorta rings were evaluated by immunohistochemistry. RESULTS : Both short-term and long-term MGO incubation significantly inhibited the relaxation response induced by ACh, while the relaxation to SNP was not significantly altered. In addition, eNOS and p-eNOS expressions decreased significantly in arteries incubated with MGO. The impaired endothelial reactivity as well as decreased expressions of eNOS and p-eNOS in MGO-incubated vessels were significantly improved by RSV treatment. CONCLUSIONS : Endothelium-dependent vasodilatation of the thoracic aorta was significantly inhibited by MGO administration, and RSV may improve vascular endothelial function. The protective effect of RSV against MGO-induced endothelial dysfunction seems to be via increased eNOS expression and activity.