Asthma is a common chronic disease characterized by bronchial inflammation, reversible airway obstruction, and airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR). Current therapeutic options for the management of asthma include inhaled corticosteroids and β2 agonists, which elicit harmful side effects.
In the present study, we examined the capacity of phospholipase A2 (PLA2), one of the major components of bee venom (BV), to reduce airway inflammation and improve lung function in an experimental model of asthma. Allergic asthma was induced in female BALB/c mice by intraperitoneal administration of ovalbumin (OVA) on days 0 and 14, followed by intratracheal challenge with 1% OVA six times between days 22 and 30. The infiltration of immune cells, such as Th2 cytokines in the lungs, and the lung histology, were assessed in the OVA-challenged mice in the presence and absence of an intratracheal administration of bvPLA2. We showed that the intratracheal administration of bvPLA2 markedly suppressed the OVA-induced allergic airway inflammation by reducing AHR, overall area of inflammation, and goblet cell hyperplasia. Furthermore, the suppression was associated with a significant decrease in the production of Th2 cytokines, such as IL-4, IL-5, and IL-13, and a reduction in the number of total cells, including eosinophils, macrophages, and neutrophils in the airway.