Friday, November 12, 2010

Melittin is Effective Anti-Arthritis Component of Bee Venom

The Anti-Arthritic Effects of Synthetic Melittin on the Complete Freund's Adjuvant-Induced Rheumatoid Arthritis Model in Rats
Am J Chin Med, 2010;38(6):1039-49

Bee venom (BV) has been used for millennia in Chinese traditional medicine to treat rheumatoid arthritis (RA). However, its components and mechanism remain unclear, which has hampered its development and application for the treatment of RA.

In this study, we examined the anti-arthritis effects of melittin, which composes nearly 50% of the dry weight of whole BV, on the complete Freund's adjuvant-induced (CFA-induced) RA model in rats.

The RA animal models were treated with solutions of BV, melittin, and saline by injection into a specific acupoint (Zusanli).

The BV and melittin treatments statistically diminished the thickness of the arthroses in the injected side of the paw, compared to the saline treatment. Melittin therapy also significantly reduced arthritis-induced nociceptive behaviors, as assessed by the thermal hyperalgesia test. In addition, CFA-induced Fos expression in the superficial layer of the lumbar spinal cord was significantly suppressed by the BV and melittin treatments, compared to the saline treatment.

These results indicate that melittin is an effective anti-arthritis component of whole bee venom, making it a promising candidate as an anti-arthritis drug.

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