Food Chem Toxicol. 2016 Jun 8. pii: S0278-6915(16)30188-0
Bee venom (BV) or apitoxin is a complex mixture of substances with reported biological activity. In the present work, five bee venom samples obtained from Apis mellifera iberiensis from the Northeast Portugal (two different apiaries) were chemically characterized and evaluated for their antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and cytotoxic properties.
The LC/DAD/ESI-MSn analysis of the samples showed that melittin was the most abundant compound, followed by phospholipase A2 and apamin. All the samples revealed antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity but without a direct relation with any of the individual chemical components identified. The results highlight that there are specific concentrations (present in BV5) in which these compounds are more active. The BV samples showed similar cytotoxicity for all the tested tumour cell lines (MCF-7, NCI-H460, HeLa and HepG2), being MCF-7 and HeLa the most susceptible ones. Nevertheless, the studied samples seem to be suitable to treat breast, hepatocellular and cervical carcinoma because at the active concentrations, the samples were not toxic for non-tumour cells (PLP2). Regarding the non-small cell lung carcinoma, BV should be used under the toxic concentration for non-tumour cells. Overall, the present study corroborates the enormous bioactive potential of BV being the first report on samples from Portugal.