Sunday, August 31, 2014

Bee Drone Milk Induces Progestational Effects

Investigation of gestagenic effect of raw drone milk in rats
[Article in Hungarian]
Acta Pharm Hung, 2014;84(2):77-81
Numerous honeybee products are used in traditional medicine. The best-known honeybee products are the honey, the propolis and the royal jelly. Drone milk is a relatively little-known honeybee product. Although, drone milk is traditionally used to treat infertility and to promote vitality in both men and women in certain countries, the literature furnishes no information concerning effects of the drone milk. The oestrogenic and androgenic effects of drone milk have recently been reported in rats and the effective compounds have also been identified. The aim of this study was to determine the putative gestagenic effect of raw drone milk in rats. Maintenance of pregnancy assays revealed that drone milk was able to increase the number of surviving fetuses. This results suggested some gestagenic effects. This effect was confirmed by RT-PCR and Western blot methods in which the mRNA and protein expressions of gestagen-dependent CRLR (Calcitonin Receptor-Like Receptor) peptide were determined. To determine the efficacy of gestagenic effect of drone milk, spironolactone (weak gestagen compound) was used. The combination of drone milk and spironolactone showed more potent gestagenic effect. These results lead us to suppose that raw drone milk shows weak gestagenic effect and this effect can be increased by another weak gestagen. Further studies are required to clarify the gestagenic mechanisms of action of drone milk.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

New Zealand Company to Boost Manuka Honey Production

Landcorp to boost Manuka honey trials
Radio New Zealand, 8/29/2014
Field trials aimed at increasing production of high value, medical grade manuka honey are getting a boost from the country's biggest farmer Landcorp.
The state owned farming enterprise is planting out more than 90 hectares of manuka on its farms in the Te Anau area, Wairarapa and Canterbury…

Friday, August 29, 2014

Propolis May Help Prevent Kidney Damage

Role of propolis (bee glue) in improving histopathological changes of the kidney of rat treated with aluminum chloride
Environ Toxicol. 2014 Sep;29(9):1000-10
Humans are frequently exposed to aluminum from various food additives, therapeutic treatments and the environment, and it can be potentially toxic. This study is aimed to elucidate the protective effects of propolis against aluminum chloride (AlCl3 )-induced histopathological and immunohistochemical changes in kidney tissues of rats. Sixty Wistar Albino male rats (average weight 250-300 g) were divided into three equal groups. The first served as a negative control. The second received AlCl3 (34 mg/kg bw, 1/ 25 LD 50). The third were administered AlCl3 (34 mg/kg bw, 1/ 25 LD 50) plus propolis (50 mg/kg bw). Doses were given once daily via a gavage for 8 weeks every day. The results showed that shrunken glomeruli, intraglomerular congestion, loss of apical microvilli, degeneration of mitochondria and widened rough endoplasmic reticulum were also observed in the Proximal Convoluted Tubules of these animals.
Treatment with propolis ameliorated the harmful effects of AlCl3 ; this was also proved histopathologically by the noticeable improvement in the renal tissues. There were also significant variations in the expressed of ki-67 and p53 proteins. It can be concluded that propolis may be promising as a natural therapeutic agent in AlCl3 -induced renal toxicity and oxidative stress in rat kidneys.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

High Fructose Agave Syrups Show Antibacterial Activity Due to Manuka Honey Component Methylglyoxal

Methylglyoxal is associated with bacteriostatic activity of high fructose agave syrups
Food Chem. 2014 Dec 15;165:444-50
Three α-ketoaldehydes, potentially present in high fructose agave syrups (HFASs) as intermediates of the Maillard reaction, were determined. A previously reported HPLC-FLD procedure based on pre-column derivatisation with 4-methoxy-o-phenylenediamine was adopted, yielding the method quantification limits 0.11mg/kg, 0.10mg/kg, 0.09mg/kg for glyoxal, methylglyoxal (MGo) and diacetyl, respectively. The obtained results revealed high concentrations of methylglyoxal in HFASs (average 102±91mg/kg, range 15.6-315mg/kg) as compared to commercial Mexican bee honeys or corn syrups.
Hydrogen peroxide was generated in all HFASs upon dilution, yet to less extent than in bee honeys. HFASs presented bacteriostatic activity against Bacillus subtilis and Escherichia coli; catalase addition had minimum effect on the assay results in syrups with elevated MGo. Principal component analysis revealed direct association between growth inhibition and MGo. It is concluded that elevated concentration of MGo in HFASs is at least in part responsible for their non-peroxide bacteriostatic activity.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Bee Products Popular as Dietary Supplements in Malaysia

Determinants of Dietary Supplements Use among Adolescents in Malaysia
Asia Pac J Public Health. 2014 Sep;26(5 Suppl):36S-43S

Dietary supplements use is relatively widespread in some countries but knowledge of supplements consumption in Malaysia is limited, more so among adolescents. This study aimed to investigate the determinants of dietary supplements use among Malaysian adolescents using multiple logistic regressions analysis. Data from the Malaysia School-based Nutrition Survey 2012 based on a 2-stage stratified sampling was used. The prevalence of vitamin/mineral supplements and food supplements intake among adolescents was 54.1% and 40.2%, respectively. Usage was significantly higher among younger adolescents and among boys. Dietary supplements were also taken mostly by those who thought they were underweight.
The most common vitamin/mineral supplements and food supplements consumed were vitamin C and bee products. The main reason for taking supplements was parents' instruction. These findings can be useful for developing health communications on supplement use targeted to adolescents and their parents.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Bees Have Value in Medicine: Honey Helps Wounds Heal

Bees have value in medicine because their honey helps wounds heal. Honey is the thick liquid food bees make for themselves from flower nectar. At a time when drought, disease, parasites, pesticides, and Africanized swarms are killing off honey bees in large numbers around the world, it is important to consider the effects of bees beyond pollination.
Honey has antibacterial qualities and has been used in the practice of healing and medicine since ancient times. The Egyptians, Sumerians, Chinese, Greeks, and Romans all valued honey, and honey is mentioned in both the Bible and the Koran. While the healing powers of honey faded in comparison to the new antibiotics introduced in the 20th century, today’s antibiotic-resistant superbugs make any substance with bacteria-fighting properties worth a second look.
Honey is used effectively for wound care in hospitals and other medical settings around the world today. Derma Sciences, a Toronto-based company, manufactures a wound-care line called Medihoney, which includes honey from the blossoms of the manuka plant, Leptospermum scoparium, as an active ingredient in state-of-the-art wound dressings…

Monday, August 25, 2014

Florida Company Launches Energy Drink Made with Honey, Bee Pollen, Royal Jelly

EnerBee Organic Energy made with honey
FoodBev, 7/10/2014
Florida-based Natural Motives' EnerBee is an organic, lightly carbonated energy drink that contains honey, bee pollen and royal jelly…

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Eisai Launches Chocola BB Royal Jelly Drink in China

FooBev, 7/22/2014
Japan-based Eisai has launched Chocola BB Royal Drink in China.
The brand's latest beverage is designed to 'support beauty and wellness' and contains vitamin B6, royal jelly, taurine, collagen and goji berry…

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Antioxidant, Flavonoid Compounds of Sonication Propolis Extract Significantly Greater Than When Using Maceration

Antioxidant and anti-cancer cell proliferation activity of propolis extracts from two extraction methods
Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2013;14(11):6991-5
Antioxidant activity, total phenolic, total flavonoid compounds and cytotoxicity to cancer cell lines of propolis extracts from two extraction methods were investigated in this study. Propolis was collected from Phayao province and extracted with 70% ethanol using maceration and sonication techniques. The antioxidant activity was evaluated by DPPH assay. Total phenolic and flavonoid compounds were also determined. Moreover, the cytotoxicity of propolis was evaluated using MTT assay.
The percentage propolis yield after extraction using maceration (18.1%) was higher than using sonication (15.7%). Nevertheless, antioxidant and flavonoid compounds of the sonication propolis extract were significant greater than using maceration. Propolis extract from sonication showed antioxidant activity by 3.30 ± 0.15 mg gallic acid equivalents/g extract. Total phenolic compound was 18.3 ± 3.30 mg gallic acid equivalents/g extract and flavonoid compound was 20.49 ± 0.62 mg quercetin/g extract. Additionally, propolis extracts from two extraction methods demonstrated the inhibitory effect on proliferation of A549 and HeLa cancer cell lines at 24, 48 and 72 hours in a dose-dependent manner. These results are of interest for the selection of the most appropriate method for preparation of propolis extracts as potential antioxidant and anticancer agents.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Nanoparticles and Bee Venom May Help Fight Cancer

Fighting Cancer with Scorpion and Honeybee Venom
Newsweek, 8/20/2014
…Pan’s group created spherical nanoparticles that contain TsAP-1, a toxic protein from the venom of the Brazilian yellow scorpion, which has a potentially fatal sting. His team also created a similar product with melittin, the main toxin in bee venom, that killed breast cancer cells but didn’t hurt body cells.
The particles work by binding to receptors that are only present in cancerous cells, and then exposing the tumor to the toxin…

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Proteomics analysis reveals protein expression differences for hypopharyngeal gland activity in the honeybee, Apis mellifera carnica Pollmann

BMC Genomics, 2014 Aug 8;15(1):665
Most of the proteins contained in royal jelly (RJ) are secreted from the hypopharyngeal glands (HG) of young bees. Although generic protein composition of RJ has been investigated, little is known about how age-dependent changes on HG secretion affect RJ composition and their biological consequences. In this study, we identified differentially expressed proteins (DEPs) during HG development by using the isobaric tag for relative and absolute quantification (iTRAQ) labeling technique. This proteomic method increases the potential for new protein discovery by improving the identification of low quantity proteins.
A total of 1282 proteins were identified from five age groups of worker bees, 284 of which were differentially expressed. 43 (15.1%) of the DEPs were identified for the first time. Comparison of samples at day 6, 9, 12, and 16 of development relative to day 3 led to the unambiguous identification of 112, 117, 127, and 127 DEPs, respectively. The majority of these DEPs were up-regulated in the older worker groups, indicating a substantial change in the pattern of proteins expressed after 3 days. DEPs were identified among all the age groups, suggesting that changes in protein expression during HG ontogeny are concomitant with different states of worker development. A total of 649 proteins were mapped to canonical signaling pathways found in the Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG), which were preferentially associated with metabolism and biosynthesis of secondary metabolites. More than 10 key high-abundance proteins were involved in signaling pathways related to ribosome function and protein processing in the endoplasmic reticulum. The results were validated by qPCR.
Our approach demonstrates that HG experienced important changes in protein expression during its ontogenic development, which supports the secretion of proteins involved in diverse functions in adult worker beyond its traditional role in royal jelly production.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Brazilian Green Propolis Improves Immune Function in Aged Mice

J Clin Biochem Nutr. 2014 Jul;55(1):7-10
Aging weakened innate and adaptive immunity both quantitatively and qualitatively. Some components in propolis could stimulate immune function in young animals or cultured immune cells in vitro. Few studies had been carried out in the aged. The present study was to evaluate the effects of Brazilian green propolis supplementation on the immunological parameters in aged mice.
Eighty Kunming mice, aged 15-18 months, were randomly assigned to the control and three experimental groups supplemented with different doses (83.3, 157.4 and 352.9 mg/ respectively) of Brazilian green propolis. The experiment lasted for 4 weeks. Contents of total polyphenol, flavonoid, cinnamic acid and artepillin-C in Brazilian green propolis were analyzed. Splenic NK cytotoxic, T lymphocyte proliferation and antibody generation cells, as well as the phagocytosis of peritoneal macrophages, ear swelling, and serum contents of IgG, IgM, hemolysin and cytokines were measured.
After 4 weeks of treatment, the phagocytosis of peritoneal macrophages was enhanced in 157.4 mg/kg and 352.9 mg/kg groups. Ear swelling increased in all propolis treatmented groups. Antibodies specific to sheep erythrocytes were higher in the groups receiving 157.4 and 352.9 mg/ than that of control group. IgG level dramatically increased in the groups receiving 83.3 and 157.4 mg/ in comparison to the control group.
These results indicate that administration of Brazilian green propolis have a positive effect on innate and adaptive immunity in aged mice.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Component of Wild Bee Venom Exhibits Antimicrobial Activity

Interaction of a novel antimicrobial peptide isolated from the venom of solitary bee Colletes daviesanus with phospholipid vesicles and Escherichia coli cells
J Pept Sci. 2014 Aug 14
The peptide named codesane (COD), consisting of 18 amino acid residues and isolated from the venom of wild bee Colletes daviesanus (Hymenoptera : Colletidae), falls into the category of cationic α-helical amphipathic antimicrobial peptides. In our investigations, synthetic COD exhibited antimicrobial activity against Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria and Candida albicans but also noticeable hemolytic activity. COD and its analogs (collectively referred to as CODs) were studied for the mechanism of their action.
The interaction of CODs with liposomes led to significant leakage of calcein entrapped in bacterial membrane-mimicking large unilamellar vesicles made preferentially from anionic phospholipids while no calcein leakage was observed from zwitterionic liposomes mimicking membranes of erythrocytes. The preference of CODs for anionic phospholipids was also established by the blue shift in the tryptophan emission spectra maxima when the interactions of tryptophan-containing COD analogs with liposomes were examined.
Those results were in agreement with the antimicrobial and hemolytic activities of CODs. Moreover, we found that the studied peptides permeated both the outer and inner cytoplasmic membranes of Escherichia coli. This was determined by measuring changes in the fluorescence of probe N-phenyl-1-naphthylamine and detecting cytoplasmic β-galactosidase released during the interaction of peptides with E. coli cells. Transmission electron microscopy revealed that treatment of E. coli with one of the COD analogs caused leakage of bacterial content mainly from the septal areas of the cells

Monday, August 18, 2014

Propolis Market Research Report 2014

DUBLIN — Research and Markets has announced the addition of the "Propolis (CAS 9009-62-5) Market Research Report2014" report to their offering. 
Propolis (CAS 9009-62-5) Market Research Report 2014 presents comprehensive data on propolis markets globally and regionally (Europe, Asia, North America etc.)
The report includes propolis description, covers its application areas and related patterns. It overviews propolis market, names propolis producers and indicates its suppliers…

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Bee Peptide is Antifungal, Insecticidal

Dual function of a bee (apis cerana) inhibitor cysteine knot peptide that acts as an antifungal peptide and insecticidal venom toxin
Dev Comp Immunol. 2014 Aug 5. pii: S0145-305X(14)00206-7
Inhibitor cysteine knot (ICK) peptides exhibit ion channel blocking, insecticidal, and antimicrobial activities, but currently, no functional roles for bee-derived ICK peptides have been identified. In this study, a bee (Apis cerana) ICK peptide (AcICK) that acts as an antifungal peptide and as an insecticidal venom toxin was identified. AcICK contains an ICK fold that is expressed in the epidermis, fat body, or venom gland and is present as a 6.6-kDa peptide in bee venom. Recombinant AcICK peptide (expressed in baculovirus-infected insect cells) bound directly to Beauveria bassiana and Fusarium graminearum, but not to Escherichia coli or Bacillus thuringiensis. Consistent with these findings, AcICK showed antifungal activity, indicating that AcICK acts as an antifungal peptide. Furthermore, AcICK expression is induced in the fat body and epidermis after injection with B. bassiana. These results provide insight into the role of AcICK during the innate immune response following fungal infection. Additionally, we show that AcICK has insecticidal activity. Our results demonstrate a functional role for AcICK in bees: AcICK acts as an antifungal peptide in innate immune reactions in the body and as an insecticidal toxin in venom. The finding that the AcICK peptide functions with different mechanisms of action in the body and in venom highlights the two-pronged strategy that is possible with the bee ICK peptide.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Buzz Over Bee Venom in Cancer Research

CBS, 8/13/2014
Bee, snake or scorpion venom may sound more like a health nightmare than a cure, but they could in fact be used in cancer-fighting drugs, a new study suggests.
Injecting someone with pure venom could have disastrous health consequences, but researchers say they have found a way to avoid such issues. They separated the "useful" venom proteins and peptides, making them specifically target malignant cells while evading healthy ones, therefore eliminating harmful effects that the toxins would normally have on a person's health.
"We have safely used venom toxins in tiny nanometer-sized particles to treat breast cancer and melanoma cells in the laboratory," study author Dipanjan Pan of University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, said in a statement. "These particles, which are camouflaged from the immune system, take the toxin directly to the cancer cells, sparing normal tissue."…

Friday, August 15, 2014

New Zealand has Multi-Billion Dollar Potential from Pharmaceutical Honey Applications

Paving Way for Medical Honey Export
New Zealand has the potential to harvest multi-billion dollar returns from pharmaceutical honey applications, says Dr Shaun Holt, founder of Bay of Plenty-based Honey Lab.
The company focused almost exclusively on pharmaceutical applications for medical honey and bee venom, and devoted about 80 per cent of available funding to research, he said.
"Our aim is to develop intellectual property in terms of product research that we can license to major global pharmaceutical companies," said Dr Holt, who was also an adjunct professor at Victoria University of Wellington.
The company's products were produced from kanuka honey, rather than the manuka honey that is more commonly associated with medical benefits. However, Dr Holt said honey from both manuka and kanuka - which were largely endemic to New Zealand - contained significant anti-microbial qualities…

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Thyme Honey Nasal Spray Helps Heal Chronic Rhinosinusitis

The effect of thyme honey nasal spray on chronic rhinosinusitis: a double-blind randomized controlled clinical trial
Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol. 2014 Aug 9. [Epub ahead of print]
Chronic rhinosinusitis is a common disease which causes persisting inflammatory conditions of one or more sinuses. This study was designed to evaluate the effect of thyme honey nasal spray as an adjunctive medication on chronic rhinosinusitis after functional endoscopic sinus surgery. This was a randomized, placebo controlled, double-blind clinical study. 64 patients with chronic rhinosinusitis undergoing functional endoscopic sinus surgery were enrolled in this study. Patients were randomized and blinded to receive either placebo or thyme honey nasal spray in addition to the standard regimen postoperatively.

Patients were visited on postoperative days 7, 30 and 60. The sino-nasal outcome test, endoscopic grading system and sinus CT-scan were scored before operation and on the day 60 after surgery. 54 patients completed the study. Significant improvement was observed in both treatment groups. There were no significant changes in SNOT-22, endoscopy and CT-scan scores between the two study groups. However, a greater reduction in endoscopic scores was shown in thyme honey group. The incidence of adverse effects was not significantly different between the groups, but synechiae formation and epistaxis were lower in treatment group. Thyme honey nasal spray seems to be a low-priced potential adjuvant remedy with excellent safety profile, to reduce inflammation and polyp formation and also fostering mucosal healing for patients suffering from chronic rhinosinusitis. However, further studies are recommended.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Oral Mucositis Can Be Treated by a Combination of Honey and Coffee

"Coffee plus Honey" versus "topical steroid" in the treatment of Chemotherapy-induced Oral mucositis
BMCComplement Altern Med, 2014 Aug 8;14(1):293
Oral mucositis is one of the common complications of cancer chemotherapy and about 40% of the patients who take chemotherapy protocols, experience this irritating problem. The purpose of this study was to draw comparison between the therapeutic effects of our treatment modalities (topical steroid, honey, honey plus coffee) in patients suffering from oral mucositis.
This was a double blinded randomised clinical trial of a total of 75 eligible adult participants which they randomly fell into three treatment groups. For all the participants a syrup-like solution was prepared. Each 600 grams of the product consisted of "20 eight-mg Betamethasone solution ampoules" in the Steroid (S) group, "300 grams of honey plus 20 grams of instant coffee" in the Honey plus Coffee (HC) group, and "300 grams of honey" for the Honey (H) group. The participants were told to sip 10 ml of the prescribed product, and then swallow it every three hours for one week. Severity of lesions was clinically evaluated before the treatment and also one week after the initiation of the intervention. This study adhered to the principles of the Declaration of Helsinki and guidelines of Good Clinical Practice.
This study showed that all three treatment regimens reduce the severity of lesions. The best reduction in severity was achieved in HC group. H group and S group took the second and third places. In other words, honey plus coffee regimen was the most effective modality for the treatment of oral mucositis.
Oral mucositis can be successfully treated by a combination of honey and coffee as an alternative medicine in a short time. Further investigations are warranted in this field.Trial registration: Iranian Registry of Clinical Trials IRCT: 201104074737N3, (9 May 2011).

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Bee, Snake and Scorpion Venom Could Be Used to Fight Cancer

Telegraph, 8/11/2014
A number of scientific studies have singled out the harmful effects of neonicotinoids that are said to affect the nervous systems of bees.
Neonicotinoid pesticides are new nicotine-like chemicals that act on the nervous systems of insects, and are blamed for damaging bees’ brains Photo: AP
Sarah Knapton By Sarah Knapton, Science Correspondent4:07PM BST 11 Aug 2014 Comments4 Comments
Bee, snake and scorpion venom could be used in fight against cancer after trials showed that the toxins can kill tumours.
Researchers have found the poison contained in insect stings or reptile bites kills breast and skin cancer cells in the lab.
And they have managed to encase the venom in a tiny particle which stops the poison leaking into the blood and harming the patient.
Dr Dipanjan Pan, of the University of Illinois, said: “We have safely used venom toxins in tiny nanometer-sized particles to treat breast cancer and melanoma cells in the laboratory.
"These particles, which are camouflaged from the immune system, take the toxin directly to the cancer cells, sparing normal tissue…

Monday, August 11, 2014

Propolis Component May Help treat Eye Diseases

Caffeic Acid Phenethyl Ester: Its Protective Role Against Certain Major Eye Diseases
J Ocul Pharmacol Ther, 2014 Aug 6
Abstract As an effective compound found mainly in the honeybee product propolis, caffeic acid phenethyl ester (CAPE) has been commonly utilized as a medicine and remedial agent, in a number of countries. Specifically, it might inhibit nuclear factor kappa B at micromolar concentrations and demonstrate antioxidant, antineoplastic, antiproliferative, cytostatic, antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory features.
This review article summarizes the recent progress regarding the favorable effects of CAPE on a number of eye disease models, including cataract and posterior capsule opacification, corneal diseases, retina and optic nerve-related diseases, ischemia/reperfusion injury of retina, inflammation and infection-related diseases.
CAPE has been found to exhibit promising efficacy, with minimal adverse effects, in animal and cell culture studies of several eye diseases.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Gallberry Shows High Phenolic Content

Determination of Antioxidant Capacities, α-Dicarbonyls, and Phenolic Phytochemicals in Florida Varietal Honeys using HPLC-DAD-ESI-MSn
J Agric Food Chem, 2014 Aug 7
Honeys contain phenolic compounds and α-dicarbonyls with antioxidant and anti-microbial capacities, respectively. The type and concentration of these compounds vary depending on the floral source and geographical location where the honey is produced. Seventeen varietal honeys, including 12 monofloral and 5 multi-floral honeys were sampled from different regions of Florida. The monofloral honeys included those from citrus, tupelo, palmetto, gallberry. These honeys were evaluated for their antioxidant capacity, total phenolic content, and free radical scavenging capacity, and compared with three New Zealand Manuka honeys. Phenolic phytochemicals and α-dicarbonyls were identified and quantified using HPLC-DAD-MSn. Several honey varieties from gallberry, Manuka, and multi-floral displayed a total phenolic content above 1000 µg GAE/ml. A citrus honey had the lowest total phenolic content of 286 µg GAE/ml. The Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity of the honeys ranged from 1.48-18.2 µmol TE/g. All honeys contained 3-deoxyglucosone at a higher concentration than methylglyoxal or glyoxal. Manuka honeys had higher concentrations of methylglyoxal than other varieties. Plant hormone 2-cis, 4-trans-abscisic acid and 2-trans, 4-trans-abscisic acid were the most abundant phytochemicals in all honeys. Coumaric acid, rutin, chrysin, pinocembrin, quercetin, luteolin, and kaempferol were also found in samples but with lower concentrations.

Saturday, August 09, 2014

Bee Venom May Help Prevent Neurodegenerative Diseases

Neuroprotective effects of melittin on hydrogen peroxide-induced apoptotic cell death in neuroblastoma SH-SY5Y cells
BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2014, 14:286, Published: 5 August 2014
Free radicals are involved in neuronal cell death in human neurodegenerative diseases. Since ancient times, honeybee venom has been used in a complementary medicine to treat various diseases and neurologic disorders. Melittin, the main component of honeybee venom, has various biologic effects, including anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-inflammatory activities.
We investigated the neuroprotective effects of melittin against H2O2-induced apoptosis in the human neuroblastoma cell line SH-SY5Y. The neuroprotective effects of melittin on H2O2-induced apoptosis were investigated using a 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenylterazolium bromide assay, caspase 3 activity, 4,6-diamidino-2-phenylindole staining, a lactate dehydrogenase release assay, Western blots, and reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction.
The H2O2-treated cells had decreased cell viability with apoptotic features and increased production of caspase-3. On the other hand, melittin treatment increased cell viability and decreased apoptotic DNA fragmentation. Melittin attenuated the H2O2-induced decrease in mRNA and protein production of the anti-apoptotic factor Bcl-2. In addition, melittin inhibited both the H2O2-induced mRNA and protein expression of Bax-associated pro-apoptotic factor and caspase-3.
These findings suggest that melittin has potential therapeutic effects as an agent for the prevention of neurodegenerative diseases.

Friday, August 08, 2014

Royal Jelly Has Anti-Aging Properties

Royal Jelly-Mediated Prolongevity and Stress Resistance in Caenorhabditis elegans Is Possibly Modulated by the Interplays of DAF-16, SIR-2.1, HCF-1, and 14-3-3 Proteins
Recent studies suggest that royal jelly (RJ) and its related substances may have antiaging properties. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying the beneficial effects remain elusive. We report that the effects of RJ and enzyme-treated RJ (eRJ) on life span and health span in Caenorhabditis elegans (C elegans) are modulated by the sophisticated interplays of DAF-16, SIR-2.1, HCF-1, and 14-3-3 proteins. Dietary supplementation with RJ or eRJ increased C. elegans life span in a dose-dependent manner. The RJ and eRJ consumption increased the tolerance of C elegans to oxidative stress, ultraviolet irradiation, and heat shock stress. Our genetic analyses showed that RJ/eRJ-mediated life-span extension requires insulin/IGF-1 signaling and the activities of DAF-16, SIR-2.1, HCF-1, and FTT-2, a 14-3-3 protein. Earlier studies reported that DAF-16/FOXO, SIR-2.1/SIRT1, FTT-2, and HCF-1 have extensive interplays in worms and mammals. Our present findings suggest that RJ/eRJ-mediated promotion of longevity and stress resistance in C elegans is dependent on these conserved interplays. From an evolutionary point of view, this study not only provides new insights into the molecular mechanisms of RJ's action on health span promotion in C elegans, but also has imperative implications in using RJ/eRJ as nutraceuticals to delay aging and age-related disorders.

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Bees: Good for More Than Just Honey”

Daily Herald (Canada), 8/4/2014
Although his mentor can help with the bees, the one thing he can’t help Hradecki with is the specialty products from bees, such as venom, royal jelly and propolis.
“One day I was sitting there thinking, ‘How do I get venom from a bee?’” he said. “I thought you would have to milk it similar to a rattlesnake or something.”
He started researching it and discovered a way to create a device that would collect the venom but not kill the bees.
“Once I started researching into the venom, you start figuring out that all these products that the bees also produce that no one really collects are actually more sought after because of their health benefits and they are more valuable,” Hradecki said. “Of course, it takes more work to get them.
“It is definitely a learning curve for sure. It is hard, especially since I work during the week in Saskatoon and then I have to come out here on Friday.”
In order to collect propolis, he uses a propolis mat. Propolis is used instead of wax in smaller spaces in the hive. It is now being sought after for medical uses, such as an antimicrobacterial.
Another interesting product is the royal jelly, which is fed to queens instead of honey.
“You have got to take the queen out the colony -- otherwise, unless there is some specific reason, the bees won’t generate queens,” Hradecki said. “You take the queen out and they no longer have that hormone in the hive that the bee produces and then they think they don’t have a queen, so they start feeding these cells we have already made for them and filling them with royal jelly.”
Royal jelly is being used as a dietary supplement for people, due to high levels of B-complex vitamins. It is also used in some skincare and beauty products.
He will collect pollen as well, which is marketed as a food product.
“Pollen, you collect through a device that when the bee goes through it it knocks the pollen, because they have it in these pollen baskets on their legs,” Hradecki said. “As they crawl through the colony, it falls into the basket. On a rainy day, you can’t do it because moisture will get into it.”…

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Bee Venom May Help Treat Allergies

Anti-allergic Effect of Bee Venom in an Allergic Rhinitis Mouse Model
Biol Pharm Bull, 2014;37(8):1295-300
Bee venom (BV) has been used as an anti-inflammatory and immune modulating agent in Oriental medicine. This study used a mouse model to investigate the anti-allergic effect of BV, which is used in the treatment of various inflammatory diseases in traditional medicine. BV was obtained from the National Institute of Agricultural Science and Technology of Korea. Female BALB/C mice were sensitized by intraperitoneal injection of ovalbumin (OVA). BV was administered nasally prior to the intranasal instillation of OVA. Allergic behavior, serum OVA-specific immunoglobulin E (IgE), interleukin (IL)-4, IL-10, and interferon-gamma (INF-γ) levels in nasal lavage fluid were measured. Hematoxylin-eosin and periodic acid-Schiff staining were performed to evaluate histological change. BV attenuated nasal symptoms and inhibited the production of OVA-specific IgE and IL-4 in sensitized mice. The degree of inflammatory cell infiltration and goblet cell hyperplasia was attenuated by BV. Thus, BV effectively reduced allergic inflammation in a mouse model of allergic rhinitis, suggesting its potential as a useful therapeutic agent to treat allergic rhinitis.

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Human Pharmacokinetic Study of Tutin in honey; A Plant-Derived Neurotoxin

Food Chem Toxicol, 2014 Jul 29. pii: S0278-6915(14)00364-0
Over the last 150 years a number of people in New Zealand have been incapacitated, hospitalised, or died from eating honey contaminated with tutin, a plant-derived neurotoxin. A feature of the most recent poisoning incident in 2008 was the large variability in the onset time of clinical signs and symptoms of toxicity (0.5 to 17 h). To investigate the basis of this variability a pharmacokinetic study was undertaken in which 6 healthy males received a single oral dose of tutin-containing honey giving a tutin dose of 1.8μg/kg body weight. The serum concentration-time curve for all volunteers exhibited two discrete peaks with the second and higher level occurring at approximately 15 hours post-dose. Two subjects reported mild, transient headache at a time post-dose corresponding to maximum tutin concentrations. There were no other signs or symptoms typical of tutin intoxication such as nausea, vomiting, dizziness or seizures. Pharmacokinetic analysis using a two-site absorption model resulted in a good fit to the observed concentration data. A novel analytical method subsequently revealed the presence of glycoside conjugates of tutin in addition to unconjugated tutin in honey. These pharmacokinetic data will be important to better define a safe maximum tutin concentration in honey.

Monday, August 04, 2014

Bee Pollen Boosts Growth, Immunity in Fish

Honey bee pollen improves growth, immunity and protection of Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) against infection with Aeromonas hydrophila
Fish Shellfish Immunol. 2014 Jul 30. pii: S1050-4648(14)00258-7
The mode of action of honey bee pollen (HBP) was investigated in Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) challenged with Aeromonas hydrophila. Thus, fish with an average weight of 29 ± 3 g were divided into four groups, and fed with HBP-free diet (control), and 1%, 2.5% and 4% (w/v) HBP incorporated into basal diet for 10, 20 and 30 days. Immunological, hematological, biochemical and growth parameters were measured, and sub-groups of fish were challenged with A. hydrophila via intraperitoneal injection. HBP significantly increased the growth performance parameters [body weight, length, average daily gain (ADG), specific growth rate (SGR), and feed efficiency ratio (FER)] and immunological (phagocytic activity, serum bactericidal activity and nitroblue tetrazolium assay (NBT)), hematological (hematocrit (Hct), leucocrit (Lct), the numbers of neutrophils, monocytes and lymphocytes) and biochemical parameters (serum total protein, albumin and globulin ratios). Furthermore, all treated fish exhibited significant protection against challenge with A. hydrophila, with the highest protection (93%) observed in the group fed with 2.5% (w/v) HBP for 20 and 30 days.

Sunday, August 03, 2014

International Symposium on Bee Products in Croatia

“International Symposium on Bee Products, 3rd Edition” & “Annual meeting of the International Honey Commission (IHC)”, a joint event that will be held in Opatija, Croatia from September 28th to October 1st, 2014.
The organizers are convinced that the scientific and technical program will lead to a rewarding expansion of professional and scientific perspectives in the field of characterization, quality and safety of the bee products.
For more information on the Program as well as other technical issues please check the official Symposium web site at  
Dražen Lušić
Assistant Professor
IHC 2014 Opatija Team

Saturday, August 02, 2014

Bee Venom Kills Lung Cancer Cells

Cancer Cell Growth Inhibitory Effect of Bee Venom via Increase of Death Receptor 3 Expression and Inactivation of NF-kappa B in NSCLC Cells
Toxins (Basel). 2014 Jul 25;6(8):2210-28
Our previous findings have demonstrated that bee venom (BV) has anti-cancer activity in several cancer cells. However, the effects of BV on lung cancer cell growth have not been reported. Cell viability was determined with trypan blue uptake, soft agar formation as well as DAPI and TUNEL assay. Cell death related protein expression was determined with Western blotting. An EMSA was used for nuclear factor kappaB (NF-κB) activity assay. BV (1-5 μg/mL) inhibited growth of lung cancer cells by induction of apoptosis in a dose dependent manner in lung cancer cell lines A549 and NCI-H460. Consistent with apoptotic cell death, expression of DR3 and DR6 was significantly increased. However, deletion of DRs by small interfering RNA significantly reversed BV induced cell growth inhibitory effects. Expression of pro-apoptotic proteins (caspase-3 and Bax) was concomitantly increased, but the NF-κB activity and expression of Bcl-2 were inhibited. A combination treatment of tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-like weak inducer of apoptosis, TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand, docetaxel and cisplatin, with BV synergistically inhibited both A549 and NCI-H460 lung cancer cell growth with further down regulation of NF-κB activity. These results show that BV induces apoptotic cell death in lung cancer cells through the enhancement of DR3 expression and inhibition of NF-κB pathway.

Friday, August 01, 2014

Indian Mustard Bee Pollen Has High Antioxidant Content

Investigation of the nutraceutical potential of monofloral Indian mustard bee pollen
J Integr Med. 2014 Jul;12(4):379-89
This study was designed to investigate the nutraceutical potential of monofloral Indian mustard bee pollen (MIMBP).
The nutritional value of MIMBP was examined in terms of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, and energy value. Its chemical composition in terms of total polyphenol and flavonoid content was determined. MIMBP was screened for free flavonoid aglycones by developing and validating a high-performance liquid chromatography-photo diode array (HPLC-PDA) method. MIMBP was analyzed for in vitro antioxidant effect in terms of 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) radical-scavenging activity.
MIMBP was found to be comprised of proteins ((182.2±5.9) g/kg), fats ((137.7±6.8) g/kg) and carbohydrates ((560.6±17.4) g/kg), which result in its high energy value ((17 616.7±78.6) kJ/kg). MIMBP was found to contain polyphenols ((18 286.1±374.0) mg gallic acid equivalent/kg) and flavonoids ((1 223.5±53.1) mg quercetin equivalent/kg). The HPLC-PDA analysis revealed the presence of kaempferol ((65.4±0.5) mg/kg) and quercetin ((51.4±0.4) mg/kg) in MIMBP, which can be used as markers for determining the quality of bee pollen. The MIMBP extract showed DPPH free radical-scavenging activity with a half maximal inhibitory concentration of 54.79 μg/mL.
The MIMBP was found to be a rich source of nutrients providing high caloric value, which makes it a candidate for a potential nutraceutical agent. The study also illustrated the high antioxidant content of MIMBP, especially in the principle polyphenols and flavonoids, which suggests its potential role in the prevention of free radical-implicated diseases. The DPPH-scavenging effect of MIMBP further confirmed its antioxidant potential. Additionally, we developed a simple, specific and accurate HPLC-PDA method for the identification and quantification of free flavonoid aglycones. This can be applied in future screenings of the quality of pollen collected by honeybees.