Resveratrol (Resv) is a polyphenol reported to modulate mitochondrial activity. The aim was to use HeLa and 143B cells to characterize the action of Resv on mitochondrial activity, cell size and proliferation using wild type (WT) and Rho 0 cells deficient in mitochondrial DNA. In both HeLa WT and Rho 0 cells, the oxygen consumption rate (OCR) was increased at 20 µM Resv after 24 h, whereas only a non-significant increase of OCR was observed in 143B WT cells. Resv decreased cell number concentration-dependently in both WT and Rho 0 cell types. An increased cell diameter was observed in HeLa WT, but not in Rho 0 when treated with Resv. Overall, the findings presented indicate that functional mitochondria are a prerequisite for cell enlargement by Resv.