Monday, November 29, 2010

Report of Interaction Between Blood Thinner and Bee-Collected Pollen

Probable Interaction Between Warfarin and Bee Pollen Am J Health Syst Pharm, 2010 Dec 1;67(23):2034-7

Problem: A probable interaction between warfarin and honeybee-collected pollen is reported.

Summary: A 71-year-old Caucasian man arrived at an anticoagulation clinic for routine warfarin monitoring with an International Normalized Ratio (INR) value of 7.1 (therapeutic range, 2.0-3.0). His medical history included atrial flutter, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, diabetes mellitus, erectile dysfunction, obesity, and hypothyroidism.

His medication regimen included warfarin, hydrochlorothiazide, lisinopril, levothyroxine, simvastatin, glyburide, metformin, vardenafil, aspirin, a multivitamin, and the herbal products Cataplex E2, Cataplex B, and Cyruta. The dosages of all medications and herbal products had been stable for the previous nine months, including warfarin (INR, 1.9-3.3).

The patient began taking bee pollen granules (one teaspoon orally twice daily) for a perceived general health benefit one month before this clinic visit. He denied use of alcohol and tobacco, changes in dietary phytonadione intake, missed or extra doses of warfarin, any other medication changes, and acute illness and diarrhea.

Warfarin was withheld, and the patient was seen at the anticoagulation clinic three days later with an INR of 3.7. Warfarin was held for a fourth day and then restarted with the weekly dose decreased by 11%. The patient continued to take bee pollen, and all INR values during the next seven months were within or near the therapeutic range. Use of the Drug Interaction Probability Scale indicated that there was a probable interaction between bee pollen and warfarin.

Conclusion: Consumption of bee pollen led to increased INR values in a patient taking warfarin.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

New Technique for Honey Quality Control

α-Relaxation in Honey Study Versus Moisture Content: High frequency Ultrasonic Investigation Around Room Temperature
Journal of Food Engineering, Volume 103, Issue 2, March 2011, Pages 165-169

Ultrasonic longitudinal attenuation and velocity have been measured for various frequencies between 0.5 and 13.5 MHz versus temperature, in honeys with moisture contents between 15% and 19%.

With the help of attenuation measurements, the temperature of the alpha transition Tα (associated with the glass transition) has been deduced versus moisture content and ultrasonic frequency. Regarding the high sensitivity of Tα towards moisture content, one can distinguish two honeys with moisture contents difference less than 0.1%.

Considering the fact that the experiments are not difficult to perform and are carried out at around room temperature, this technique could be useful for honey quality control or more generally for aqueous polymers study.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

China Starts to Scrutinize Food Firms Against Propolis Adulteration

BEIJING, Nov. 25, 2010 (Xinhua News Agency) -- China's food and drug authority has ordered meticulous checks of health food firms to prevent the use of tree gum to make propolis-based food.
The State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA) issued a circular Thursday and asked its local agencies to scrutinize the health food producers, which shall be "severely dealt with" for any illegal activities, especially the fraudulent use of tree gum as bee resin.

This move came after local media recently reported that some bee propolis products in China's market are actually tree gum that had been adulterated in order to save on production costs.

According to the circular, all health food firms should work to keep a record of information concerning the purchase of raw materials including propolis, ensure the suppliers of raw materials are traceable, and take measures to guarantee the quality of raw materials...

Friday, November 26, 2010

Honey Products Heading for Revival

By Kate Shapland, The Telegraph (UK), 11/23/2010

Although honey-based products have been part of the beauty firmament for years, honey's reparative qualities have taken a back seat to other natural properties recently. But this week, with the opening of a London shop (see below) for Melvita - an organic beauty line founded by the French biologist and beekeeper Bernard Chevilliat - honey brands such as Burt's Bees, Perlier and Apicare, and the nutritious qualities of pollen and royal jelly, are heading for a revival. The inspiration for Melvita came from Chevilliat's passion for bees and concerns about the decline of their colonies owing to increased use of insecticides, urbanisation and pollution. He wanted Melvita (from the Latin words for honey and life) to respect and nurture our skin and the environment. So instead of merely slapping the overused 'natural' tag on his products and waiting for them to work, he used only organically and responsibly sourced ingredients in his formulas, excluding properties not clinically proven safe. Chevilliat also ensures that each is traceable - a criterion of France's Ecocert standard, which Melvita holds...

System Melvita Organic Flower Pollen (£14) - the bees' protein-rich 'daily bread' with excellent restorative and revitalising qualities. Melvita, 19 Slingsby Place, St Martin's Courtyard, London WC2 (0800-138 7045; melvita.co.uk)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Bee Products Enhance Healing Properties of Skin Cream

If it’s good enough for Cleopatra...The ancient Egyptian beauty formulas that still work today
By Liz Stout, The Daily Mail (UK), 11/25/2010

Beauty-conscious consumers will be surprised that the latest skin cream is based on a formula that’s 2,500 years old.

Egyptian Magic (£32.99, revital.co.uk) has A-list devotees who include Kate Hudson, Madonna and Emily Blunt…

Olive oil gives skin a healthy sheen, while beeswax and honey bathe it in age-fighting antioxidants. Other key ingredients are bee pollen, royal jelly and bee propolis.

Scientific research on its healing benefits suggests it could help to minimise scars, burns, stretch marks and insect bites, too…

Health Benefits of Bee Products Praised

Giving Thanks for Gifts from the Bees
By Dr. Reese Halter, Santa Monica Daily Press, 11/23/2010

...Honey contains over 200 substances. Bees secrete a glucose oxidase enzyme that assists in converting nectar into honey. Along with oxygen the glucose enzyme splits the glucose molecule into water and hydrogen peroxide. Due to its hydrogen peroxide and glucose oxidase content, honey is a powerful antiseptic.

High amounts of malic, citric, tartaric, oxalic and other organic acids combined with the enzymes catalase and peroxidase give honey its renowned antibacterial properties.

With over 80 percent sugar content and its natural acidity honey creates an inhospitable environment for the single-celled microbes that form infections. The low water content of honey keeps bacteria, which thrives in water, from flourishing. The ancient Mayan shamans realized this and successfully used honey-based medicines to treat cataracts, conjunctivitis, chills, fevers and open wounds. Today, some modern bandage companies line their products with diluted traces of honey.

Honey is loaded with vitamins and minerals. It contains water soluble B1, B2, B6, panothenic and nicotinic acids, vitamin C — as well as high amounts of fat soluble vitamins E, K and A. Honey also provides us with essential minerals: calcium, phosphorus, potassium, iron, copper, manganese, magnesium and sulfur.

Some of these minerals in the specific concentrations found in honey mimic the concentrations of blood serum. Therefore honey metabolizes easily and can be an important source of essential nutrients. In addition, the combination of glucose and fructose and some maltose, melezitose and dextrin makes honey an excellent source of caloric energy.

Some researchers suggest that a teaspoon or two of honey before bed ensures a restorative sleep. Floridian tupelo and New Zealand manuka honeys are low on the glycemic index and therefore best for diabetics.

Beeswax is a somewhat silent partner in the daily lives of people around the world. From cosmetics, stick colognes, antiperspirants, candies and dental impressions to the mouth-pieces of didgeridoos, beeswax is often an important component.

Did you know that your pool table has beeswax filling its screw holes and seams between slates? Beeswax thread is still preferred by shoemakers — and sailors — because of its durability and resistance to weathering. Furniture and automobile polish, industrial lubricants, paint removers and even the frets on a two-stringed Philippine Kutiyapi boat-lute, they all rely on the wax of the bees.

Did you know that the Roman Catholic Church uses about 3.1 million pounds of beeswax in their candles each year, which are 49 percent beeswax?

Beehives can tell scientists a lot about the health and well-being of local environments. In fact, beeswax is a sponge for toxic chemicals. This past springtime researchers examined beehives from 23 states and Canadian provinces and found 121 different insecticides in 887 samples of bees, wax, pollen and hives.

Of even more concern was that three out of five pollen and wax samples from 23 states had at least one systemic insecticide — a poison designated to spread throughout all parts of the plant including its pollen and nectar. One group of these chemicals, neonictinoids, are lethal to bees, moths, beneficial soil insects and known to contaminate fresh waterways.

Since 1957, the former USSR has used extracts of bee stings — bee venom, known as apis — to treat rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis and other debilitating autoimmune diseases. The powerful anti-inflammatory effects of melittin and adolapin in bee venom — along with apamin, improve nerve transmission and are being used to effectively treat fibromyalgia and tendonitis. Twelve European countries have officially recognized bee venom solution as a drug...

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Propolis Protects Cartilage in Arthritic Joints

The Influence of Irradiation on the Potential Chondroprotective Effect of Aqueous Extract of Propolis in Rats
Int J Radiat Biol, 2010 Nov 19

Purpose: Cartilage degradation usually results as a consequence of inflammatory processes in the joints. To study this phenomenon experimentally, adjuvant-induced arthritis (AIA) was used as a model of chronic inflammation under the influence of irradiation. The potential chondroprotective effect of 13% aqueous extract of propolis (AEP) in arthritic rats was investigated.

Materials and methods: The influence of whole body irradiation on the arthritic inflammatory response was investigated by subjecting rats to a Gamma source before the induction of arthritis. 13% AEP was injected intraperitoneally in a dose of 5 ml/kg and diclofenac was used as reference non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) in a dose of 3 mg/kg. The chosen parameters for cartilage integrity were glycosaminoglycan (GAG), hydroxyproline contents in cartilage and cartilage oligomeric matrix protein (COMP) in serum. The serum levels of tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α), nitric oxide (NO) and the oxidative stress biomarkers such as blood glutathione (GSH) and plasma malondialdehyde (MDA) levels.

Results: Induction of arthritis led to a reduction in GAG and hydroxyproline content of femoral cartilage and a corresponding rise in COMP in serum. Previous exposure to irradiation resulted in a milder reduction of GAG and hydroxyproline and a lesser rise in COMP. Treatment of arthritic irradiated and non-irradiated rats with 13% AEP markedly prevented the breakdown of cartilage in a much more effective manner than diclofenac. Both AEP and diclofenac were equipotent in reducing the level of TNF-α and were able to normalize NO and the oxidative stress biomarkers in non-irradiated and irradiated arthritic rats.

Conclusion: The ability of propolis to protect cartilage degradation could therefore prove of value in the treatment of chronic arthritic diseases, offering an advantage over some NSAID, particularly those with a potential detrimental effect on cartilage integrity.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Collecting Bee Venom

The bee venom manufacturing process has a few steps:
Source: ApiHealth

1. Bee venom collection from bees on the apiary.

All the existing types of electrical devices for bee venom collection have a common working element - bee venom collection frame. It comprises a bee venom collection frame with wire electrodes installed in parallel to each other. Electrical current goes through them in the form of impulses

Bee venom frames are mounted on the top of honey frames in every hive and then are connected to an electro-stimulator. The electro-stimulator is switched on and the time of the treatment is recorded. In the course of stimulation the behavior of bees in the electrical field between the wires of bee venom frame is watched.

Bees that come into contact with the wires received a mild electrical shock and stung onto the glass sheet . The alarm odor, which evaporated from the venom, mobilized and irritated the other bees and they also started to sting. At completion of the collection, the electrical stimulator is switched off and the bees are shaken off from the bee venom frames.

The bee venom collected dries on the glass. The frames with the fresh dried bee venom on them are carefully packed into a special container for transportation to the laboratory…

Monday, November 22, 2010

Bee Venom Inhibits Prostate Cancer

Anti-Cancer Effect of Bee Venom in Prostate Cancer Cells Through Activation of Caspase Pathway Via Inactivation of NF-κB†
The Prostate, Early View (Articles online in advance of print)

Bee venom has been used as a traditional medicine to treat arthritis, rheumatism, back pain, cancerous tumors, and skin diseases. However, the effects of bee venom on the prostate cancer and their action mechanisms have not been reported yet.

Methods

To determine the effect of bee venom and its major component, melittin on the prostate cancer cells, apoptosis is analyzed by tunnel assay and apoptotic gene expression. For xenograft studies, bee venom was administrated intraperitoneally twice per week for 4 weeks, and the tumor growth was measured and the tumor were analyzed by immunohistochemistry. To investigate whether bee venom and melittin can inactivate nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB), we assessed NF-κB activity in vitro and in vivo.

Results and Conclusions

Bee venom (1–10 µg/ml) and melittin (0.5–2.5 µg/ml) inhibited cancer cell growth through induction of apoptotic cell death in LNCaP, DU145, and PC-3 human prostate cancer cells. These effects were mediated by the suppression of constitutively activated NF-κB. Bee venom and melittin decreased anti-apoptotic proteins but induced pro-apoptotic proteins. However, pan caspase inhibitor abolished bee venom and melittin-induced apoptotic cell death and NF-κB inactivation. Bee venom (3–6 mg/kg) administration to nude mice implanted with PC-3 cells resulted in inhibition of tumor growth and activity of NF-κB accompanied with apoptotic cell death.

Therefore, these results indicated that bee venom and melittin could inhibit prostate cancer in in vitro and in vivo, and these effects may be related to NF-κB/caspase signal mediated induction of apoptotic cell death.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Propolis Component Protects Kidneys

Caffeic Acid Phenethyl Ester Protects Against Oxidative Stress-Related Renal Dysfunction in Rats Treated with Cyclosporin A
Fundamental & Clinical Pharmacology, Early View (Articles online in advance of print)

The therapeutic index of cyclosporin A (CsA), an immunosuppressive drug, is limited by its nephrotoxic effect. Oxidative stress is suggested to play a crucial role as pathogenic factors.

The present study aimed at investigating the effects of caffeic acid phenethyl ester (CAPE), a phenolic antioxidant, on renal function, morphology, and oxidative stress following CsA treatment.

Rats were treated with vehicle, CsA (50 mg/kg), and CsA plus CAPE (10 and 30 μmol/kg) for 10 days. Renal function, histopathology, and tissue malondialdehyde (MDA) and reduced glutathione (GSH) levels were evaluated 24 h after the last treatment.

CsA produced nephrotoxicity as indicated by a significant increase in serum creatinine and blood urea nitrogen, but decrease creatinine and urea clearance compared to those treated with vehicle. Severe vacuolations and tubular necrosis were evident in the kidney of CsA-treated rats. CsA also increased renal MDA and decreased GSH content significantly. Administration of CAPE along with CsA restored all the changes caused by CsA.

These results clearly demonstrate the pivotal role of oxidative stress and its relation to renal dysfunction and also point to the protective potential of CAPE against CsA nephrotoxicity. The protection afforded by CAPE is mediated, at least in part, through inhibiting renal lipid peroxidation and enhancing or maintaining the antioxidant glutathione content.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Royal Jelly Fatty Acids Studied

The Absolute Configurations of Hydroxy Fatty Acids from the Royal Jelly of Honeybees (Apis mellifera)
Lipids, 2010 Nov 17

9-Hydroxy-2E-decenoic acid (9-HDA) is a precursor of the queen-produced substance, 9-oxo-2E-decenoic acid (9-ODA), which has various important functions and roles for caste maintenance in honeybee colonies (Apis mellifera).

9-HDA in royal jelly is considered to be a metabolite of 9-ODA produced by worker bees, and it is fed back to the queen who then transforms it into 9-ODA.

Recently we found that 9-HDA is present in royal jelly as a mixture of optical isomers (R:S, 2:1). The finding leads us to suspect that chiral fatty acids in royal jelly are precursors of semiochemicals.

Rather than looking for semiochemicals in the mandibular glands of the queen bee, this study involves the search for precursors of pheromones from large quantities of royal jelly.

Seven chiral hydroxy fatty acids, 9,10-dihydroxy-2E-decenoic, 4,10-dihydroxy-2E-decenoic, 4,9-dihydroxy-2E-decenoic, 3-hydroxydecanoic, 3,9-dihydroxydecanoic, 3,11-dihydroxydodecanoic, and 3,10-dihydroxydecanoic acids were isolated.

The absolute configurations of these acids were determined using the modified Mosher's method, and it was revealed that, similar to 9-HDA, five acids are present in royal jelly as mixtures of optical isomers.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Study Examines Anti-Inflammatory Action of Chinese Propolis

Inhibitory Effect of Chinese Propolis on Phosphatidylcholine-Specific Phospholipase C Activity in Vascular Endothelial Cells
Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Volume 2011 (2011)

To understand the mechanisms underlying the anti-inflammatory action of Chinese propolis, we investigated its effect on the activity of phosphatidylcholine-specific phospholipase C (PC-PLC) that plays critical roles in control of vascular endothelial cell (VEC) function and inflammatory responses. Furthermore, p53 and reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels and mitochondrial membrane potential (Δψm) were investigated.

Our data indicated that treatment of Chinese propolis 6.25 and 12.5 μg/ml for 12 hours increased VEC viability obviously. Exposure to Chinese propolis 6.25, 12.5, and 25 μg/ml for 6 and 12 hours significantly decreased PC-PLC activity and p53 level, and ROS levels were depressed by Chinese propolis 12.5 μg/ml and 25 μg/ml dramatically.

The Δψm of VECs was not affected by Chinese propolis at low concentration but disrupted by the propolis at 25 μg/ml significantly, which indicated that Chinese propolis depressed PC-PLC activity and the levels of p53 and ROS in VECs but disrupted Δψm at a high concentration.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

New Purification Method Creates Water-Soluble Propolis

New Method to Purify Propolis for Mouth Ulcer Gel Source: University of Bradford

The healing properties of propolis - a mixture of resin and wax made by honey bees to seal and sterilise their hives - have been known for many years. But its use in medicine and food supplements has been limited because the sticky substance is not water soluble and has a strong, off-putting smell.

Now researchers at the University of Bradford's Centre for Pharmaceutical Engineering Science have developed a way of purifying propolis that retains its medicinal properties, but makes it dissolve in water and eliminates its pungent smell. The technique has already led to the development of a new mouth ulcer gel and opens the door to a huge range of other pharmaceutical and nutraceutical applications for the substance.

"Propolis is a complex chemical mix and a very useful natural product," explains Centre Director, Professor Anant Paradkar, who led the research. "Propolis has been shown to be anti-microbial, anti-fungal, a strong anti-oxidant, non-allergenic and can boost the immune system. It also promotes wound healing and has anaesthetic properties…

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Honey Can Help Manage Wound Odor

Managing Wound Odor #218
Journal of Palliative Medicine, October 2010: 1286-1287

Honey can be bacteriocidal, and has been increasingly studied for wound healing.

There is some evidence that it decreases odor.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Honey Bees Show That Diet May Alter DNA

Bees Prove a Good Diet Can Set Our Path in Life
By Bridie Smith, Sydney Morning Herald, 11/16/2010

YOU are what you eat. Grow up eating a nutrition-rich diet of royal jelly and you will become, well, royalty. Stick to honey and you are destined for life as a worker.

That is the way it is for honey bees, research published in the journal PLoS Biology shows.

But the research, led by Ryszard Maleszka, of the Australian National University's college of medicine, biology and environment, has implications for humans, too. The findings suggest environmental factors such as diet could modify the ''genetic hardware'' of the human brain, as was the case with the research that found diet not only influenced bee behaviour but its DNA.

Advertisement: Story continues below Two groups of genetically identical female bees developed from differentially fed larvae were studied at the ANU and the German Cancer Institute researchers. One group was fed highly nutritious royal jelly; the others honey. The results showed the honey-fed bees became the workers while those fed royal jelly became queen bees. But most significantly, a difference emerged in the two groups' DNA.

The implications for human health emerge because the enzymes that mark the DNA in the bee are the same ones that mark DNA in human brains...

Monday, November 15, 2010

Propolis Component Blocks Tumor Growth

Antitumor Progression Potential of Caffeic Acid Phenethyl Ester Involving p75(NTR) in C6 Glioma Cells
Chem Biol Interact, 2010 Dec 5;188(3):607-15

The previous data showed that caffeic acid phenethyl ester (CAPE), a component of propolis, possesses inducing cell cycle arrest and antiproliferation effect on C6 glioma cells in vitro and in vivo.

In the present study, C6 glioma cells treated with CAPE resulted in morphological changes to an astrocytic phenotype and increased the expression of glial differentiation marker proteins including glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) and S-100β.

In addition, with scratch assay and Boyden chamber assay, CAPE exhibited inhibitory effects on the motility and invasion of C6 glioma cells. Furthermore, CAPE induced the expression of nerve growth factor (NGF) and p75 neurotrophin receptor (p75(NTR)), which were involved in neural cell differentiation.

CAPE could also inhibit the activity of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) and induce the expression of RhoB, a tumor suppressor. To examine the involvement of p75(NTR) in the anti-invasive property of CAPE, Western blotting and Boyden Chamber assay were performed by addition of an anti-p75(NTR) antibody in C6 cells.

The results showed that blocking p75(NTR) could decrease the CAPE-induced expression of RhoB and the inactivation of MMP-2, -9 as well as the anti-invasion effect in C6 glioma cells. Furthermore, CAPE suppressed IκB-α phosphorylation which was down stream of p75(NTR).

Finally, the effect of CAPE on metastasis by lung colonization of the tumor cell in nude mice was also evaluated. It was found that the groups of nude mice injected with CAPE-pretreated cells could decrease both lung size and weight as compared to the positive control group which did not receive CAPE treatment. In addition, histological examination of the mouse lung sections showed that the CAPE-treated group inhibited the metastasis of C6 glioma cells.

These data suggest CAPE possesses antitumor progression potential.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Trace Mineral Content Helps Determine Propolis Origin

Trace Mineral Content of Argentinean Raw Propolis by Neutron Activation Analysis (NAA): Assessment of Geographical Provenance by Chemometrics
LWT - Food Science and Technology, Volume 44, Issue 1, January 2011, Pages 256-260

Multielement analysis of raw propolis samples, collected from different central Argentinean regions, was carried out by Neutron Activation Analysis (NAA) aiming at developing a reliable method in their traceability.

This work presents a characterization of 96 raw propolis samples selected from three different geographical origins in middle region of Argentina.

Multivariate chemometric techniques, such as Principal Component Analysis (PCA), were applied to perform a preliminary study of the data structure. Two supervised pattern recognition procedures including stepwise linear discriminant analysis (LDA) and K-nearest neighbors (kNN) were used to classify samples into the three categories considered on the basis of the chemical data.

Eight trace elements (Br, Co, Cr, Fe, Rb, Sb, Sm and Zn) were selected by stepwise-LDA explaining the classification of propolis according to their geographical origin. Application of k-nearest neighbor classification procedure to these eight selected variables produced a good correlation (98% correct classification ratio) of propolis with its provenance.

The trace element profiles provided sufficient information to develop classification rules for propolis identification according to their provenance.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Bee Venom May Help Reduce Fatty Deposits in Arteries

Bee Venom Reduces Atherosclerotic Lesion Formation via Anti-Inflammatory Mechanism
Am J Chin Med, 2010;38(6):1077-92

The components of bee venom (BV) utilized in the current study were carefully scrutinized with chromatography. Despite its well documented anti-inflammatory property, there are no reports regarding the influence of BV on the expression of cellular adhesion molecules in the vascular endothelium.

A great amount of information exists concerning the effects of an atherogenic diet on atherosclerotic changes in the aorta, but little is known about the molecular mechanisms and the levels of gene regulation involved in the anti-inflammatory process induced by BV.

The experimental atherosclerosis was induced in mice by a lipopolysaccharide (LPS) injection and an atherogenic diet. The animals were divided into three groups, the NC groups of animals that were fed with a normal diet, the LPS/fat group was fed with the atherogenic diet and received intraperitoneal injections of LPS, and the LPS/fat + BV group was given LPS, an atherogenic diet and intraperitoneal BV injections. At the end of each treatment period, the LPS/fat + BV group had decreased levels of total cholesterol (TC) and triglyceride (TG) in their serum, compared to the LPS/fat group.

The LPS/fat group had significant expression of tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α and interleukin (IL)-1β in the serum, compared with the NC group (p < 0.05). The amount of cytokines reduced consistently in the BV treatment groups compared with those in LPS/fat group.

BV significantly reduced the amount of intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1), vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1), transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1) and fibronectin in the aorta, compared with the LPS/fat group (p < 0.05). A similar pattern was also observed in the heart.

In conclusion, BV has anti-atherogenic properties via its lipid-lowering and anti-inflammatory mechanisms.

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.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Bee Venom Gel Offers Contraception, HIV Protection

Unconventional Idea for Antiviral Contraceptive Gel Wins Gates Foundation Grant
EurekAlert

A vaginal gel that affords both contraception and HIV protection using nanoparticles that carry bee venom is one of the bold, unconventional ideas that won a 2010 Grand Challenges Explorations grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Grand Challenges Explorations is a Gates Foundation initiative to foster innovative projects in areas where unorthodox thinking is most urgently needed. Recipients receive grants to explore creative solutions to global health issues.

Sam Wickline, MD, professor of medicine, of cell biology and physiology, of physics and of biomedical engineering at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis is one of 65 scientists selected in November to participate in the grant program.

Wickline proposes to develop a contraceptive, antiviral gel containing trillions of nanoparticles that will target both HIV and sperm and deliver a bee venom toxin that will incapacitate them.

"Sperm and HIV (the human immunodeficiency virus that can lead to acquired immune deficiency syndrome, or AIDS) are remarkably similar in their natural mechanism of genetic transmission," Wickline says. "Both need to fuse with their target cell in order to deliver their genetic payloads ? DNA in the case of sperm, and RNA in the case of HIV."

Wickline's plan is to use the very means by which sperm and HIV operate to destroy them...

A toxin derived from the substance bees insert into their victims when they sting is the agent that will destroy the sperm and HIV. The toxin, called melittin, comprises more than half of the dry weight of the venom of the honeybee Apis mellifera.

The nanoparticles will carry a synthetic version of the toxin melittin to the targets.

"Cells readily take in melittin," Wickline says. "But once it gets in, it pokes holes in cell membranes destroy the cells."

A local biotech startup company, Kereos Inc., is testing melittin as an anti-cancer agent.

Since melittin can annihilate almost any cell, the trick is to target the melittin to the specific cells intended for destruction (cancer, sperm, HIV) without causing collateral damage to other cells in the body.

Wickline and colleague Paul Schlesinger, MD, PhD, associate professor of cell biology and physiology, attacked that problem two years ago when they developed "nanobees," the name coined for nanoparticles that sequester melittin so that it neither harms healthy tissue nor is degraded before it reaches the intended target.

Wickline and his colleagues have also developed the ability to add agents to the nanobees to cause them to home in on specific target cells. Although nanoparticles are a few thousand times smaller than the dot above an "i," each can carry hundreds of thousands of molecules on its surface...

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Canadian Honey Antioxidant, Antibacterial Activity Examined

The Relationship Between the Content of Maillard Reaction-Like Products and bioaCtivity of Canadian Honeys
Food Chemistry, Volume 124, Issue 3, 1 February 2011, Pages 869-874

Honey possesses antioxidant and antibacterial activities; however the compounds that are responsible for these activities are still under investigation.

To determine whether there are common features/compounds that underlie the antioxidant and antibacterial activities, 20 Canadian honeys were analysed using the oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) and the broth micro-dilutions assay, respectively.

Principal component analysis revealed the highest correlation between ORAC and Maillard reaction-like products (MRLP). In addition, the extremely significant correlations between ORAC, MRLPs, phenolic content and honey colour may suggest that these compounds represent the same chemical entity and exert their antioxidant activity while being part of a higher molecular weight structure. Moreover, the antioxidant activity and MRLPs were also the dominant variables contributing to the antibacterial activity against Escherichia coli however no such correlation against Bacillus subtilis.

In conclusion, MRLPs in honey appear to underlie the antioxidant and partially the antibacterial activity against E. coli.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Brazilian Propolis Effective Against Bacteria That Cause Tooth Decay

A New Type of Brazilian Propolis: Prenylated Benzophenones in Propolis from Amazon and Effects Against Cariogenic Bacteria
Food Chemistry, Volume 125, Issue 3, 1 April 2011, Pages 966-972

Ethanol extracts of four propolis samples (E1–E4) from Manaus (Brazilian Amazon) were analysed by HPLC/DAD/ESI–MS/MS and GC/EIMS. The major constituents of E2 and E4 were analysed by NMR (1H and 13C) and ESI/MS/MS.

The main constituents of E2 and E4 are polyprenylated benzophenones: 7-epi-nemorosone, 7-epi-clusianone (major E4 constituents), xanthochymol and gambogenone (major E2 constituents), making up a chemical profile so far unreported for Brazilian propolis. Aristhophenone, methyl insigninone, 18-ethyloxy-17-hydroxy-17,18-dihydroscrobiculatone B, and derivatives of dimethyl weddellianone A and B, propolones, and a scrobiculatone derivative, were detected as minor constituents. Triterpenoids (β-amyrins, β-amyrenone, lupeol and lupenone) were ubiquitous and predominant in E1 and E3.

The extracts E2 and E4 were highly active against the cariogenic bacteria Streptococcus mitis, Streptococcus mutans and Streptococcus salivarius. E2 was more active than E4, probably due to a higher content of 2-epi-nemorosone, while the latter was richer in di-hydroxylated compounds.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Honey Boosts Healing of Infected Burn Wounds

Effect of Honey on Healing of Pseudomonas aeruginosa Infected Burn Wounds in Rat
Journal of Applied Animal Research, 2010, Volume : 37, Issue : 2

To determine the effect of honey on healing of burn wounds infected with Pseudomonas aeruginosa, 57 male Sprague-Dawley 180–220 g rats were randomly divided into 3 equal groups (A-C).

Group A (control) did not receive any treatment, group B was treated with honey and group C with silver sulfadiazine.

After 24 h of burn production, 108 colony forming units (CFU) of toxigenic strains of P. aeruginosa (PA 103) were inoculated subcutaneously into the burnt area. Samples were obtained from the infected areas for the presence of P. aeruginosa on the 2nd, 7th, 14th and 21st d post burns. After 1, 2 and 3 weeks, the animals were sacrificed and burn areas were examined histologically.

Bacterial count on the d 2 was 105P. aeruginosa. On d 7, 14 and 21, there was a significant decrease in the number of bacteria in groups B and C. Re-epithelization was significantly more in honey group on d 14 in comparison to silver sulfadiazine and the control.

Based on this experiment, application of honey for treatment of burn site even infected with P. aeruoginosa could be safe. However, to clinically use this natural product more supportive trials are needed.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Propolis Flavonoid Has Neuroprotective Properties

Astaxanthin Upregulates Heme Oxygenase-1 Expression Through ERK1/2 Pathway and Its Protective Effect Against Beta-Amyloid-Induced Cytotoxicity in SH-SY5Y Cells
Brain Res, 2010 Nov 11;1360:159-67

Astaxanthin (ATX), the most abundant flavonoids in propolis, has been proven to exert neuroprotective property against glutamate-induced neurotoxicity and ischemia-reperfusion-induced apoptosis.

Previous study have revealed that ATX can rescue PC12 cells from Aβ(25-35)-induced apoptotic death. However, the mechanisms by which ATX mediates its therapeutic effects in vitro are unclear.

In the present study, we explored the underlying mechanisms involved in the protective effects of ATX on the Aβ(25-35)-induced cytotoxicity in SH-SY5Y cells.

Pre-treatment with ATX for 4h significantly reduced the Aβ(25-35)-induced viability loss, apoptotic rate and attenuated Aβ-mediated ROS production. In addition, ATX inhibited Aβ(25-35)-induced lowered membrane potential, decreased Bcl-2/Bax ratio. We also demonstrated that ATX could prevent the activation of p38MAPK kinase pathways induced by Aβ. Moreover, we for the first time have revealed the ATX increased antioxidant enzyme heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) expression in concentration-dependent and time-dependent manners, which were correlated with its protective effect against Aβ(25-35)-induced injury. Because the inhibitor of HO-1 activity, ZnPP reversed the protective effect of ATX against Aβ(25-35)-induced cell death.

We also demonstrated that the specific ERK inhibitor, PD98059, concentration-dependently blocked on ATX-induced HO-1 expression, and meanwhile PD98059 reversed the protective effect of ATX against Aβ25-35-induced cell death.

Taken together, these findings suggest that astaxanthin can induce HO-1 expression through activation of ERK signal pathways, thereby protecting the SH-SY5Y cells from Aβ(25-35)-induced oxidative cell death.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Honey of Argentinean Stingless Bees Shows Antibacterial Properties

Properties of honey from Tetragonisca angustula fiebrigi and Plebeia wittmanni of Argentina Propriétés du miel produit par Tetragonisca angustula fiebrigi et Plebeia wittmanni en Argentine
Die Eigenschaften von argentinischen Tetragonisca angustula fiebrigi- und Plebeia wittmanni-Honigen
Apidologie, 41 (2010) 667–675

The composition of honey samples of Plebeia wittmanni (n = 10) and Tetragonisca angustula fiebrigi (n = 12) was analysed.

The colours of all collected honeys were amber to dark amber and the pH varied. Moisture was lower than reported for other stingless bee honeys. Conductivity and ash content of P. wittmanni honey were higher than for T. angustula fiebrigi. Acidity of P. wittmanni honey was the highest ever mentioned for all other Plebeia species. Total sugars and sucrose were higher in T. angustula fiebrigi than in P. wittmanni honey. T. angustula fiebrigi honey showed the highest sucrose content ever mentioned and was rich in oligosaccharides. Both honeys split off sucrose, α-glucosides, trehalose, and amylose. The strongest hydrolytic activity was on sucrose, with high activity for T. angustula fiebrigi honey. Raffinose was also hydrolyzed.

The honey of both bees inhibited bacterial growth. These properties support, at least in part, the medicinal use of the stingless bee honey by native people.

Zusammenfassung

Stachellose Bienen sind einheimische Bienen der tropischen und subtropischen Zonen Amerikas und wurden von Einheimischen als Honigquelle und als Medizin benutzt. Von Zentralamerika bis ins tropische und subtropische Südamerika fanden ihre Honige Verwendung in der Behandlung von Infektionen der Augen, Wunden und des oberen Atmungstrakts, sowie als Abführmittel. Die Quechua-Sprache unterscheidet verschiedene Stachellose Bienen-Arten Nordwest-Argentiniens als tiu-simi, yana, kayasan, kella und pusquillo. Die physikalischen Parameter und die Zusammensetzung von Honig der Arten Trigona (Tetragonisca) angustula fiebrigi und Plebeia wittmanni, die alle in der Provinz Tucumán, Argentinien gewonnen wurden, sind in Tabelle I zusammengestellt. Die Analyse der Zucker zeigte, dass Glukose und Sacharose die Hauptkomponenten bilden. Hinsichtlich der enzymatischen Aktivität dieser Honie konnten wir zeigen, dass sie in der Lage sind, Sacharose, α-Glykoside, Trehalose und Amylose aufzuspalten. Die stärkste hydrolytische Aktivität fanden wir bei zwei T. angustula fiebrigi-Honigen, wobei diese gegen Sacharose gerichtet war. Raffinose, ein Sacharose-ähnliches Oligosacharid wurde ebenfalls hydrolisiert (Tab. II). Verdünnte Honige von T. angustula fiebrigi (> 30 μL; 30 % w/v) und P. wittmanni (> 20 μL; 20 % w/v) zeigten anitbiotische Eigenschaften gegen verschiedene pathogene Bakterien (Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Enterococcus faecalis und Staphylococcus aureus) mit einer Konzentration von 108 CFU/mL (Tab. III).

Diese Eigenschaften erklären die medizinische Verwendung der Honige Stachelloser Bienen in ihren Ursprungsländern, v.a durch die einheimische Bevölkerung.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Honey Component Induces Colon Cancer Cell Death

Apoptotic Effect of Eugenol in Human Colon Cancer Cell Lines
Cell Biol Int, 2010 Nov 2

Eugenol, a natural compound available in honey and various plants extracts including cloves and Magnoliae Flos, is exploited for various medicinal applications. Since most of the drugs used in the cancer are apoptotic inducers, the apoptotic effect and anticancer mechanism of eugenol were investigated against colon cancer cells…

Eugenol treatment resulted in reduction of intracellular non-protein thiols and increase in the earlier lipid layer break. Further events like dissipation of MMP and generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) were accompanied in the eugenol-induced apoptosis.

Augmented ROS generation resulted in the DNA fragmentation of treated cells as shown by DNA fragmentation and TUNEL assay. Further activation of poly-adenosine diphosphate-ribose polymerase (PARP), p53 and caspase-3 were observed in the western blot analyses.

Our results demonstrated molecular mechanism of eugenol-induced apoptosis in human colon cancer cells. This research will further enhance eugenol as a potential chemopreventive agent against colon cancer.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Rapeseed Honey Leads to Higher Serum Fructose Levels

Consumption of Rapeseed Honey Leads to Higher Serum Fructose Levels Compared with Analogue Glucose/Fructose Solutions
European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, (8 September 2010)

Background:

Studies suggest that honey has less influence on serum glucose concentrations than monosaccharides and disaccharides. Previous studies, however, have only analysed glucose metabolism.

Methods:

This study investigated the influence of two types of honey (rapeseed and acacia) on the serum levels of glucose, fructose, insulin and C-peptide values in healthy subjects. The results were compared with honey-comparable glucose–fructose solutions. All solutions contained 75 g of glucose and/or fructose.

Results:

We found significantly higher fructose serum levels with rapeseed honey after 2 h but no such differences for acacia honey. C-peptide levels were significantly higher after administration of both honeys after 1 and 2 h.

Conclusions:

For the first time it has been found out that honey ingestion leads to a rise of blood fructose concentration: in one case, this rise was lower than that achieved after fructose/glucose controls, in the other cases it was same as after the controls. Fructose metabolism may be inhibited by unidentified substances present in the rapeseed honey. Further study to elucidate underlying mechanisms may be worthwhile, as usually there is no differentiation between the different types of honey.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Concentration of Adenosine in Royal Jelly Creams, Supplements Analyzed

Observation and Quantification of Self-Associated Adenosine Extracted from Royal Jelly Products Purchased in USA by HPLC Food Chemistry, Article in Press

The concentration of adenosine in pure royal jelly creams and dietary supplements purchased in the United States was determined by reversed phase high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC).

Preliminary studies revealed the existence of several forms of adenosine via self-association and base-pairing in solutions. Therefore, proper optimization of pH and compositions of extraction solvents and mobile phases was critical for successful separation and quantification.

In this work, adenosine in samples was extracted by sonication in a mixture consisting of 5% ethanol and 95% deionized water and separated using a Zorbax Eclipse XDB-C18 column (150 × 4.6 mm) and a mobile phase of 93% deionized water and 7% acetonitrile at 25 °C. The flow rate of a mobile phase was set to 1.0 ml/min and the UV detection was performed at 260 nm.

The average recovery rate of adenosine was 92.8 – 99.2% with the relative standard deviation (RSD) of 0.1 – 1.3% over concentrations ranging from 5 to 160 μg/ml. The limit of detection (LOD) and limit of quantification (LOQ) were found to be 0.01 and 0.05 μg/ml, respectively. Quantification was carried out using calibration curves constructed by both internal standard (ISTD) and external standard (ESTD) methods.

Our results show that the concentration of adenosine lies between 27 and 50 μg/g for pure royal jelly creams and between 2 and 173 μg/g for royal jelly supplements.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Propolis May Help Treat Oral Cavity Diseases in HIV+ Patients

The Antifungal Activity of Iranian Propolis Samples Against Fluconazole-Resistant Candida albicans Strains Isolated from HIV+ Patients with Oropharyngeal Candidiasis
Journal of ApiProduct & ApiMedical Science, Vol. 2 (4) pp. 161 - 166

Propolis is an antimicrobial agent whose composition can vary depending on the area from which it is collected. The aim of this study was to determine the in vitro activity of two propolis samples from northern and southern Iran (Mazandaran and Hormozgan province respectively) against some fluconazole-resistant Candida albicans strains isolated from HIV+ patients with oropharyngeal candidiasis (OPC).

The chemical composition of propolis samples was determined by high-resolution gas chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry (GC-MS). Ethanolic extracts were prepared from the propolis samples. The minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs) and minimum fungicidal concentrations (MFCs) of propolis on the growth of C. albicans isolates were determined using the broth microdilution method. The main compounds of propolis extracts were aromatic acids such as caffeic acid (1.6% for northern and 2.2% for southern samples).

The propolis extracts showed antifungal activities; the concentrations capable of inhibiting all of the yeasts ranged from 2 to 20 mg/mL. Propolis from southern Iran showed the most effective MIC values for the yeasts studied.

Because of increased antifungal resistance, propolis may be kept in mind in the treatment of oral cavity diseases such as OPC in HIV+ patients.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Manuka Honey, Negative Pressure Therapy Boost Wound Healing

Application of Manuka Honey and GENADYNE A4 Negative Pressure Wound Therapy System in a 55-year-old Woman with Extensive Phlegmonous and Necrotic Lesions in the Abdominal Integuments and Lumbar Region after Traumatic Rupture of the Colon
Med Sci Monit, 2010 Nov 1;16(11):CS138-142

Background: Antibiotic resistance of bacteria is on the rise and thus, the discovery of alternative therapeutic agents is urgently needed. Honey possesses good therapeutic potential, including wound healing properties and antimicrobial activity.

Case Report: The authors report on the case of a 55-year-old woman with extensive phlegmonous and necrotic lesions of the abdominal integuments and the lumbar area following traumatic colonic rupture, treated with Manuka honey wound dressings and the GENADYNE A4 negative pressure wound healing system.

Conclusions: The application of the Manuka honey and the GENADYNE A4 negative pressure wound healing system in treating phlegmonous lesions of the abdominal integuments after rupture of the colon brought good effects, ultimately enabling skin autografting on the wound site and complete wound healing.