Thursday, March 23, 2017

Propolis From Two Native Bees in Brazil Shows Anti-Tumor Activity

Antioxidant, Cytotoxic, and Toxic Activities of Propolis from Two Native Bees in Brazil: Scaptotrigona depilis and Melipona quadrifasciata anthidioides

Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity
Volume 2017 (2017), Article ID 1038153, 12 pages

Propolis is a natural mixture of compounds produced by various bee species, including stingless bees. This compound has been shown to exhibit antioxidant, antiproliferative, and antitumor activities.

The present study aimed to determine the chemical constituents as well as the antioxidant, cytotoxic, and toxic activities of ethanol extracts of propolis obtained from the stingless bees Scaptotrigona depilis and Melipona quadrifasciata anthidioides, which are found in Brazil. Phytosterols, terpenes, phenolic compounds, and tocopherol were identified in the ethanol extracts of propolis (EEPs) in different concentrations. The compounds stigmasterol, taraxasterol, vanilic acid, caffeic acid, quercetin, luteolin, and apigenin were found only in EEP-M. The EEPs were able to scavenge the free radicals 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl and 2,2′-azino-bis(3-ethylbenzothiazoline-6-sulfonic acid) and protected human erythrocytes against lipid peroxidation, with the latter effect being demonstrated by their antihemolytic activity and inhibition of malondialdehyde formation.

The EEPs showed cytotoxic activity against erythroleukemic cells and necrosis was the main mechanism of death observed. In addition, the concentrations at which the EEPs were cytotoxic were not toxic against Caenorhabditis elegans.

In this context, it is concluded that EEP-S and EEP-M show antioxidant and cytotoxic activities and are promising bioactive mixtures for the control of diseases associated with oxidative stress and tumor cell proliferation.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The Health Benefits of Propolis

Extracting phenolic compounds from bee propolis

Propolis phenols

Propolis is a glue made by honey bees from a mixture of saliva, beeswax, and tree resin or plant sap, which the bees use to fix up the hive. Humans have found an alternative use for it: as a treatment for a wide range of medical conditions, including minor infections and dry skin.

Even though humans have used propolis as a medical treatment for thousands of years, scientists are still working to identify the active ingredients responsible for its medicinal properties. What makes this process so difficult is that not only is propolis a highly complex substance, comprising many different compounds, but its composition can differ substantially between different hives and seasons. This is because bees produce it using resin or sap from whatever trees or plants are growing near their hive.

One specific class of organic molecules that scientists are focusing on is phenols, as they are known to have medicinal properties and are abundant in propolis. Because of the complexity of propolis, scientists first need to extract the phenolic compounds from any samples before they can identify them with a technique such as liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS). Existing methods for doing this are slow and not particularly environmentally friendly, because they tend to involve extracting the phenolic compounds with large volumes of organic solvents...

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Bee Venom: What is it?


Refinery 29, 3/20/2017

Honey bee venom, or apitoxin, is – without sounding too obvious – what bees sting you with. So those who are allergic to bee-stings, stay away, this isn’t for you. According to our trusty friend Wikipedia, when you get stung by a bee, it injects around 0.1mg of venom, which is made up of histamine, the element that causes the allergic reaction, and dopamine, which raises your heart rate...

Monday, March 20, 2017

Chilean Ulmo Honey Shows Anti-Cancer Activity

Food Res Int. 2017 Apr;94:20-28

Volatile and non-volatile/semi-volatile compounds and in vitro bioactive properties of Chilean Ulmo (Eucryphia cordifolia Cav.) honey

Ulmo honey originating from Eucryphia cordifolia tree, known locally in the Araucania region as the Ulmo tree is a natural product with valuable nutritional and medicinal qualities. It has been used in the Mapuche culture to treat infections. This study aimed to identify the volatile and non-volatile/semi-volatile compounds of Ulmo honey and elucidate its in vitro biological properties by evaluating its antioxidant, antibacterial, antiproliferative and hemolytic properties and cytotoxicity in Caco-2 cells. Headspace volatiles of Ulmo honey were isolated by solid-phase microextraction (SPME); non-volatiles/semi-volatiles were obtained by removing all saccharides with acidified water and the compounds were identified by GC/MS analysis.

Ulmo honey volatiles consisted of 50 compounds predominated by 20 flavor components. Two of the volatile compounds, lyrame and anethol have never been reported before as honey compounds. The non-volatile/semi-volatile components of Ulmo honey comprised 27 compounds including 13 benzene derivatives accounting 75% of the total peak area. Ulmo honey exhibited weak antioxidant activity but strong antibacterial activity particularly against gram-negative bacteria and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), the main strain involved in wounds and skin infections. At concentrations >0.5%, Ulmo honey reduced Caco-2 cell viability, released lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) and increased reactive oxygen species (ROS) production in a dose dependent manner in the presence of foetal bovine serum (FBS). The wide array of volatile and non-volatile/semi-volatile constituents of Ulmo honey rich in benzene derivatives may partly account for its strong antibacterial and antiproliferative properties important for its therapeutic use.

Our results indicate that Ulmo honey can potentially inhibit cancer growth at least partly by modulating oxidative stress.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Stingless Bee Honey Promotes Wound Healing


Stingless Bee Honey, the Natural Wound Healer: A Review


Skin Pharmacol Physiol. 2017 Mar 15;30(2):66-75

BACKGROUND:

The stingless bee is a natural type of bee that exists in almost every continent. The honey produced by this bee has been widely used across time and space. The distinctive feature of this honey is that it is stored naturally in the pot (cerumen), thus contributing to its beneficial properties, especially in the wound healing process.

METHODS:

In this article, several studies on stingless bee honey that pointed out the numerous therapeutic profiles of this honey in terms of its antioxidant, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, as well as moisturizing properties are reviewed. All of these therapeutic properties are related to wound healing properties.

RESULTS:

Antioxidant in stingless bee honey could break the chain of free radicals that cause a detrimental effect to the wounded area. Furthermore, the antimicrobial properties of stingless bee honey could overcome the bacterial contamination and thus improve the healing rate. Moreover, the anti-inflammatory attribute in this honey could protect the tissue from highly toxic inflammatory mediators. The moisturizing properties of the honey could improve wound healing by promoting angiogenesis and oxygen circulation.

CONCLUSION:

The application of honey to the wound has been widely used since ancient times. As a result, it is essential to understand the pharmacological mechanism of the honey towards the physiology of the wounded skin in order to optimize the healing rate in the future.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Buckwheat Honey Effective Against Antibiotic-Resistant Hospital Acquired Pathogens


Effect of United States buckwheat honey on antibiotic-resistant hospital acquired pathogens

Pan Afr Med J. 2016 Dec 6;25:212

INTRODUCTION:

Due to an upsurge in antibiotic-resistant infections and lack of therapeutic options, new approaches are needed for treatment. Honey may be one such potential therapeutic option. We investigated the susceptibility of hospital acquired pathogens to four honeys from Wisconsin, United States, and then determined if the antibacterial effect of each honey against these pathogens is primarily due to the high sugar content.

METHODS:

Thirteen pathogens including: four Clostridium difficile, two Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, two Pseudomonas aeruginosa, one Methicillin-Susceptible Staphylococcus aureus, two Vancomycin-resistance Enterococcus, one Enterococcus faecalis and one Klebsiella pneumoniae were exposed to 1-50% (w/v) four Wisconsin honeys and Artificial honey to determine their minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) and minimum bactericidal concentration (MBC) using the broth dilution method.

RESULTS:

Buckwheat honey predominantly exhibited a bactericidal mode of action against the tested pathogens, and this varied with each pathogen. C. difficile isolates were more sensitive to the Wisconsin buckwheat honey as compared to the other pathogens. Artificial honey at 50% (w/v) failed to kill any of the pathogens. The high sugar content of Wisconsin buckwheat honey is not the only factor responsible for its bactericidal activity.

CONCLUSION:

Wisconsin buckwheat honey has the potential to be an important addition to therapeutic armamentarium against resistant pathogens and should be investigated further.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Health Benefits of Bee Sting Therapy


How bee sting therapy works

The Alternative Daily, 3/17/2017

Bee sting therapy is the medicinal use of products made by honeybees such as honey, pollen, royal jelly, propolis, beeswax and bee venom. Therapies involving the honeybee have existed for thousands of years. Bee venom therapy was even practiced in ancient Egypt, Greece and China. Ancient civilizations recognized the healing properties of bee venom for treating arthritis and other joint problems. Today, growing scientific evidence suggests that bee products promote healing by improving circulation, decreasing inflammation and stimulating a healthy immune response according to The American Apitherapy Society Inc...

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Propolis May Help Treat Diabetes

Effects of bee propolis supplementation on glycemic control, lipid profile and insulin resistance indices in patients with type 2 diabetes: a randomized, double-blind clinical trial

J Integr Med. 2017 Mar;15(2):124-134

BACKGROUND:

Propolis, a natural resinous substance made by bees from material extracted from plants, flowers and bee's wax, has shown great therapeutic effects and been widely used in food and drug industries. Recently, some researchers have studied the effect of this substance in the treatment of diabetes.

OBJECTIVE:

The purpose of this trial was to determine the effect of bee propolis on glycemic control, serum lipid profile and insulin resistance indices in patients with type 2 diabetes (T2D).

DESIGN, SETTING, PARTICIPANTS AND INTERVENTIONS:

This randomized clinical trial involved 66 patients with T2D, which were randomly divided into two groups of intervention (IG) and placebo (PG). IG received 300 mg three times a day for a total of 900 mg/d of propolis pills, while PG received similar pills, lacking propolis, on the same schedule for 12 weeks.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

Fasting blood glucose (FBG), hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c), total cholesterol (TC), low-density lipoprotein (LDL), high-density lipoprotein (HDL), triglyceride (TG), serum insulin and insulin resistance indices were the main outcome measures.

RESULTS:

The mean change in FBG between the IG ((17.76 ± 27.72) mg/dL decrease) and the PG ((6.48 ± 42.77) mg/dL increase) was significantly different (P = 0.01). Change in mean HbA1c had a similar pattern to FBG. The mean change in TC between the IG ((5.16 ± 43.80) mg/dL increase) and the PG ((28.9 ± 27.4) mg/dL increase) was also significantly different (P = 0.01), showing the protective role of propolis against the increase in TC. The change in mean LDL was similar to mean TC. There was no significant difference in other lipids or insulin resistance indices between the two groups.

CONCLUSION:

Based on this study, the daily intake of 900 mg of bee propolis supplement for 12 weeks results in improvement of glycemic and some serum lipid levels in patients with T2D.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Thyme Honey Effective in Treating Radiation-Induced Xerostomia

The effectiveness of thyme honey for the management of treatment-induced xerostomia in head and neck cancer patients: A feasibility randomized control trial.

Eur J Oncol Nurs. 2017 Apr;27:1-8

PURPOSE:

Radiation-induced xerostomia is one of the most common side effects that head and neck cancer patients experience during and after treatment. Despite the various methods for the prevention and treatment of radiation-induced xerostomia, it remains highly prevalent among patients treated for head and neck cancers negatively influencing their lives. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of thyme honey as a means for managing radiation-induced xerostomia.

METHOD:

This was a parallel randomised controlled trial with two equal arms, the experimental arm (thyme honey) and the control arm (saline). 72 head and neck cancer patients receiving radiotherapy or/and chemotherapy or/and surgery were recruited in a specialised cancer centre. Patients in both arms followed the same administration protocol with thyme honey and saline respectively. Identical assessments at baseline, 1 month and 6 months following completion of the intervention were performed in both arms including the National Cancer Institute (NCI) xerostomia scale and the Xerostomia Questionnaire (XQ) additionally to weekly oral clinical assessments. The ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier for this study is NCT01465308.

RESULTS:

Linear Mixed Models revealed the statistically significant effect of the intervention on xerostomia (F = 8.474 p < 0.001) and overall quality of life (F = 13.158 p < 0.001). Moreover, Generalised Estimating Equations revealed a statistically significant effect on strong and unbearable pain (F = 10.524 p < 0.001) and dysphagia (F = 4.525 p = 0.033).

CONCLUSION:

The study has demonstrated the safety and efficacy findings of Thyme honey in head and neck cancer patients for the management of treatment induced xerostomia.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Strawberry-Tree, Manuka Honey May Help Prevent Colon Cancer


Strawberry-Tree Honey Induces Growth Inhibition of Human Colon Cancer Cells and Increases ROS Generation: A Comparison with Manuka Honey

Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(3), 613

Honey is a natural product known to modulate several biological activities including cancer. The aim of the present study was to examine the phytochemical content and the antioxidant activity of Strawberry tree (Arbutus unedo) honey (STH) and its cytotoxic properties against human colon adenocarcinoma (HCT-116) and metastatic (LoVo) cell lines in comparison with Manuka (Leptospermum scoparium) honey (MH).

Several unifloral STH and MH were analyzed for their phenolic, flavonoid, amino acid and protein contents, as well as their radical scavenging activities. STH from the Berchidda area showed the highest amount of phenolic, flavonoid, amino acid and protein content, and antioxidant capacity compared to MH. Both STH and MH induced cytotoxicity and cell death in a dose- and time-dependent manner in HCT-116 and LoVo cells, with less toxicity on non-cancer cells. Compared to MH, STH showed more effect at lower concentrations on HCT-116 and LoVo cells. In addition, both honeys increased intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation. In HCT-116 cells, STH and MH induced similar ROS production but in LoVo cells STH induced a higher percentage of ROS compared to MH.

Our results indicate that STH and MH can induce cell growth inhibition and ROS generation in colon adenocarcinoma and metastatic cells, which could be due to the presence of phytochemicals with antioxidant properties. These preliminary results are interesting and suggest a potential chemopreventive action which could be useful for further studies in order to develop chemopreventive agents for colon cancer.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Bacterial Isolates from Honey and Bee Gut Show Antimicrobial, Probiotic Activity

Possible correlation between levansucrase production and probiotic activity of Bacillus sp. isolated from honey and honey bee


World Journal of Microbiology and Biotechnology
April 2017, 33:69

Five bacterial isolates from honey and bee gut were selected based on their high levansucrase activity and levan yield which were strongly positively correlated. All isolates showed good tolerance to temperature up to 70 °C, to NaCl up to 3 M and to 0.1% H2O2. They maintained over 59 and 64% survival at pH 9.0 and 2.0 respectively, but showed varying tolerance to 0.1% bile salts and pancreatic enzymes. Most isolates were susceptible to widely used antibiotics, but demonstrated diverse antimicrobial activity. Non hemolytic isolates were identified on the basis of 16S rRNA sequencing as Bacillus subtilis HMNig-2 and B. subtilis MENO2 with 97% homology. They exhibited promising probiotic characteristics and achieved highest levansucrase activity of 94.1 and 81.5 U/mL respectively. Both exhibited highest biofilm formation ability in static microtiter plate assay. Also, they achieved 34 and 26% adhesion respectively to Caco-2cells and had highest free radical scavenging activity of 30.8 and 26.2% respectively. The levans of the two isolates showed good antimicrobial activity against some pathogens and exhibited positive prebiotic effect (prebiotic index >1) with Lactobacillus casei and Lactobacillus reuteri. Results suggest a correlation between levansucrase production, levan yield and pre-probiotic activities of the studied strains.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Honey Bee product Mixtures Show Antioxidant Activity

Antioxidant activities of honeybee products and their mixtures

Food Science and Biotechnology
February 2017, Volume 26, Issue 1,  pp 201–206

In this study, the total phenolic content (TPC), antioxidant activity, and free radical scavenging activities (FRSA) of 70 samples comprising honeybee products (honey, pollen, royal jelly, and propolis) and their mixtures were determined. The TPC was determined in accordance with the Folin–Ciocalteu method, antioxidant activity with phosphomolybdenum, and FRSA with the 1,1-diphenyl-2-picryl hydrazyl (DPPH) assays.

Honeybee propolis showed the greatest TPC, antioxidant activity, and FRSA followed by pollen, honey, and royal jelly, respectively. A positive correlation was observed between TPC and antioxidant activity of honey, pollen and mixed samples (respectively, r= 0.91, r= 0.93 and r= 0.92) (p < 0.01). Similarly, honey and mixed samples exhibited positive correlations with TPC and FRSA (respectively, r= 0.98 and r= 0.92) (p < 0.01).

It was concluded that honeybee products and their mixtures have antioxidant activity and FRSA and these effects may be attributed to their phenolic content.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Bee Bread, Propolis Boost Antioxidant and Antimicrobial Properties of Honey

Functional properties of honey supplemented with bee bread and propolis

Nat Prod Res. 2017 Feb 6:1-4

The aim of this work was characterisation of functional properties of honey enriched with propolis and beebread. In first step of experiment, soft propolis extract (SPEx) was obtained by extraction of propolis with ethanol. SPEx (0.25 to 1.0% w/w) as well as beebread (5 to 15% w/w) were implemented into natural honey.

Fortified honeys were investigated in terms of total phenolic content, radical scavenging activity and ferric reducing antioxidant power, also their effects on the micro-organisms growth was examined.

It was found that beebread had the most significant influence on antioxidant properties. On the other hand, all tested honeys showed antibacterial activity against Escherichia coli but not against Micrococcus luteus. Honeys with 1% of propolis addition were the most effective in this case.

Research has indicated that for antioxidant and antimicrobial properties of honey, it is beneficial to enrich it in both beebread and propolis.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Brazilian Green Propolis May Help Treat Alzheimer's Disease

The Neuroprotective Effects of Brazilian Green Propolis on Neurodegenerative Damage in Human Neuronal SH-SY5Y Cells

Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2017;2017:7984327

Oxidative stress and synapse dysfunction are the major neurodegenerative damage correlated to cognitive impairment in Alzheimer's disease (AD). We have found that Brazilian green propolis (propolis) improves the cognitive functions of mild cognitive impairment patients living at high altitude; however, mechanism underlying the effects of propolis is unknown.

In the present study, we investigated the effects of propolis on oxidative stress, expression of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), and activity-regulated cytoskeleton-associated protein (Arc), the critical factors of synapse efficacy, using human neuroblastoma SH-SY5Y cells.

Pretreatment with propolis significantly ameliorated the hydrogen peroxide- (H2O2-) induced cytotoxicity in SH-SY5Y cells. Furthermore, propolis significantly reduced the H2O2-generated reactive oxygen species (ROS) derived from mitochondria and 8-oxo-2'-deoxyguanosine (8-oxo-dG, the DNA oxidative damage marker) but significantly reversed the fibrillar β-amyloid and IL-1β-impaired BDNF-induced Arc expression in SH-SY5Y cells. Furthermore, propolis significantly upregulated BDNF mRNA expression in time- and dose-dependent manners. In addition, propolis induced Arc mRNA and protein expression via phosphoinositide-3 kinase (PI3K).

These observations strongly suggest that propolis protects from the neurodegenerative damage in neurons through the properties of various antioxidants.

The present study provides a potential molecular mechanism of Brazilian green propolis in prevention of cognitive impairment in AD as well as aging.

Thursday, March 09, 2017

Propolis and Dental Health

Oral Health of Patients Treated with Acrylic Partial Dentures Using a Toothpaste Containing Bee Product

Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2017;2017:4034179

This study was carried out to investigate the influence of a propolis and tee tree oil-containing hygienic agent on selected oral health parameters, oral microflora, and the condition of periodontal health.

Thirty-seven patients who underwent oral rehabilitation with a removable acrylic denture were selected and randomly assigned into two groups: study group (A) which received a newly formulated propolis and tee tree oil-containing toothpaste or a control group (C) without an active ingredient. API, S-OHI, and mSBI were assessed in three subsequent stages. During each examination swabs were employed for microbiological inoculation: in the study group after 4 weeks use of the active toothpaste showed a decrease in the number of isolated microorganisms. In the control group, after 4 weeks use of the toothpaste without active ingredients resulted in increase in the number of the isolated microorganisms. Improvements in hygiene and the condition of periodontium were observed in patients using active toothpastes.

In the study group the oral flora diversity was reduced by the decrease in the number of cultured microorganism species, while in the control group an increase in the number of cultured microorganisms and their species was observed.

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Propolis Protects Liver, Kidneys

Protective Effect of Propolis in Proteinuria, Crystaluria, Nephrotoxicity and Hepatotoxicity Induced by Ethylene Glycol Ingestion

Arch Med Res. 2016 Oct;47(7):526-534

BACKGROUND AND AIMS:

Propolis is a natural honeybee product with wide biological activities and potential therapeutic properties. The aim of the study is to evaluate the protective effect of propolis extract on nephrotoxicity and hepatotoxicity induced by ethylene glycol in rats.

METHODS:

Five groups of rats were used. Group 1 received drinking water, group 2 received 0.75% ethylene-glycol in drinking water, group 3 received 0.75% ethylene-glycol in drinking water along with cystone 500 mg/kg/body weight (bw) daily, group 4 received 0.75% ethylene-glycol in drinking water along with propolis extract at a dose of 100 mg/kg/bw daily, and group 5 received 0.75% ethylene-glycol in drinking water along with propolis extract at a dose of 250 mg/kg/bw daily. The treatment continued for a total of 30 d. Urinalyses for pH, crystals, protein, creatinine, uric acid and electrolytes, and renal and liver function tests were performed.

RESULTS:

Ethylene-glycol increased urinary pH, urinary volume, and urinary calcium, phosphorus, uric acid and protein excretion. It decreased creatinine clearance and magnesium and caused crystaluria. Treatment with propolis extract or cystone normalized the level of magnesium, creatinine, sodium, potassium and chloride. Propolis is more potent than cystone. Propolis extract alleviates urinary protein excretion and ameliorates the deterioration of liver and kidney function caused by ethylene glycol.

CONCLUSIONS:

Propolis extract has a potential protective effect against ethylene glycol induced hepatotoxicity and nephrotoxicity and has a potential to treat and prevent urinary calculus, crystaluria and proteinuria.

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Honey Wars: Pollen War Breaks Out Between New Zealand Landowners

TVNZ

A pollen war has erupted between two landowners in the lower North Island – exposing an industry-wide problem as demand for Manuka honey soars.

Monday, March 06, 2017

Major Royal Jelly Protein Examined

Characterizing the Structure and Oligomerization of Major Royal Jelly Protein 1 (MRJP1) by Mass Spectrometry and Complementary Biophysical Tools

Biochemistry. 2017 Mar 2

Royal jelly (RJ) triggers the development of female honeybee larvae into queens. This effect has been attributed to the presence of major royal jelly protein 1 (MRJP1) in RJ. MRJP1 isolated from royal jelly is tightly associated with apisimin, a 54-residue -helical peptide that promotes the noncovalent assembly of MRJP1 into multimers. No high resolution structural data are available for these complexes, and their binding stoichiometry remains uncertain. We examined MRJP1/apisimin using a range of biophysical techniques.

We also investigated the behavior of deglycosylated samples, as well as samples with reduced apisimin content. Our mass spectrometry (MS) data demonstrate that the native complexes predominantly exist in a (MRJP14 apisimin4) stoichiometry. Hydrogen/deuterium exchange (HDX) MS reveals that MRJP1 within these complexes is extensively disordered in the range of residues 20-265. Marginally stable secondary structure (likely antiparallel -sheet) exists around residues 266-432. These weakly structured regions interchange with conformers that are extensively unfolded, giving rise to bimodal (EX1) isotope distributions. We propose that the native complexes have a "dimer of dimers" quaternary structure where MRJP1 chains are bridged by apisimin. Specifically, our data suggest that apisimin acts as linker that forms hydrophobic contacts involving the MRJP1 segment 316VLFFGLV322. Deglycosylation produces large soluble aggregates, highlighting the role of glycans as aggregation inhibitors. Samples with reduced apisimin content form dimeric complexes with a (MRJP12 apisimin1) stoichiometry.

The information uncovered in this work will help pave the way towards a better understanding of the unique physiological role played by MRJP1 during queen differentiation.

Sunday, March 05, 2017

Manuka Honey May Help Treat Colitis

Successful treatment of persistent Clostridium difficile infection with manuka honey

Int J Antimicrob Agents. 2017 Feb 28

Clostridium difficile-associated disease is an increasingly common health problem. C. difficile is a causative agent of antibiotic-associated pseudomembranous colitis, antibiotic-associated colitis and antibiotic-associated diarrhoea. C. difficile overgrowth usually occurs during antibiotic therapy as the normal gastrointestinal flora is disrupted. Discontinuation of antibiotics does not lead to symptomatic improvement, and new strains of the pathogen have a substantial failure rate after therapy cessation.

Saturday, March 04, 2017

Beeswax May Help Treat Skin Diseases

Topical Formulation Containing Beeswax-Based Nanoparticles Improved In Vivo Skin Barrier Function

AAPS PharmSciTech. 2017 Feb 17

Lipid nanoparticles have shown many advantages for treatment/prevention of skin disorders with damaged skin barrier function. Beeswax is a favorable candidate for the development of nanosystems in the cosmetic and dermatological fields because of its advantages for the development of products for topical application. In the present study, beeswax-based nanoparticles (BNs) were prepared using the hot melt microemulsion technique and incorporated to a gel-cream formulation. The formulation was subsequently evaluated for its rheological stability and effect on stratum corneum water content (SCWC) and transepidermal water loss (TEWL) using in vivo biophysical techniques. BNs resulted in mean particle size of 95.72 ± 9.63 nm and zeta potential of -9.85 ± 0.57 mV. BN-loaded formulation showed shear thinning behavior, well adjusted by the Herschel-Bulkley model, and a small thixotropy index that were stable for 28 days at different temperatures. BN-loaded formulation was also able to simultaneously decrease the TEWL and increase the SCWC values 28 days after treatment.

In conclusion, the novel beeswax-based nanoparticles showed potential for barrier recovery and open the perspective for its commercial use as a novel natural active as yet unexplored in the field of dermatology and cosmetics for treatment of skin diseases with damaged skin barrier function.

Friday, March 03, 2017

32 Compounds Identified in Portuguese Bee Bread

Flavonoid Composition and Antitumor Activity of Bee Bread Collected in Northeast Portugal

Molecules. 2017 Feb 7;22(2)

Bee bread (BB) is a fermented mixture of plant pollen, honey, and bee saliva that worker bees use as food for larvae, and for young bees to produce royal jelly. In the present study, five BB samples, collected from Apis mellifera iberiensis hives located in different apiaries near Bragança, in the northeast region of Portugal, and one BB commercial sample were characterized by high-performance liquid chromatography coupled to a diode array detector and electrospray mass spectrometry (HPLC-DAD-ESI/MS) in terms of phenolic compounds, such as flavonoid glycoside derivatives.

Furthermore, the samples were screened, using in vitro assays, against different human tumor cell lines, MCF-7 (breast adenocarcinoma), NCI-H460 (non-small cell lung cancer), HeLa (cervical carcinoma) and HepG2 (hepatocellular carcinoma), and also against non-tumor liver cells (porcine liver cells, PLP2). The main phenolic compounds found were flavonol derivatives, mainly quercetin, kaempferol, myricetin, isorhamnetin and herbacetrin glycoside derivatives.

Thirty-two compounds were identified in the six BB samples, presenting BB1 and BB3 with the highest contents (6802 and 6480 µg/g extract, respectively) and the highest number of identified compounds. Two isorhamnetin glycoside derivatives, isrohamnetin-O-hexosyl-O-rutinoside and isorhamnetin-O-pentosyl-hexoside, were the most abundant compounds present in BB1; on the other hand, quercetin-3-O-rhamnoside was the most abundant flavonol in BB3. However, it was not possible to establish a correlation between the flavonoids and the observed low to moderate cytotoxicity (ranging from > 400 to 68 µg/mL), in which HeLa and NCI-H460 cell lines were the most susceptible to the inhibition.

To the authors' knowledge, this is the first report characterizing glycosidic flavonoids in BB samples, contributing to the chemical knowledge of this less explored bee product.

Thursday, March 02, 2017

Brown Brazilian Propolis is a Promising Antifungal

Chemical and cytotoxic analyses of brown Brazilian propolis (Apis mellifera) and its in vitro activity against itraconazole-resistant Sporothrix brasiliensis

Microb Pathog. 2017 Feb 17;105:117-121

This study aimed to evaluate the chemical composition and cytotoxic activity of brown Brazilian propolis and its in vitro activity against itraconazole-resistant Sporothrix brasiliensis from animal sporotrichosis.

Propolis was acquired commercially and prepared as a hydroalcoholic extract. Chemical analysis was evaluated by liquid chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry of ultra-efficiency. The cell viability was evaluated by MTT test in MDBK cells of 50 to 0.09 μg/mL. For antifungal tests, twenty isolates of Sporothrix brasiliensis from dogs (n = 11) and cats (n = 9) with sporotrichosis were tested to itraconazole (16-0.0313 μg/mL) and to propolis (3.125-0.09 mg/mL) by broth microdilution technique (CLSI M38-A2), adapted to natural products.

The results were expressed in minimal inhibitory concentration (MIC) and minimal fungicidal concentration (MFC). Itraconazole showed activity between MIC values of 0.25 to greater than 16 μg/mL, and 88.9% (08/09) and 72.7% (08/11) of S. brasiliensis from cats and dogs, respectively, were considered itraconazole-resistant.

All Sporothrix brasiliensis were sensitive to brown propolis between MIC values of 0.19-1.56 mg/mL, including the itraconazole-resistant isolates, whereas the MFC values of propolis were from 0.78 to greater than 3.125 mg/mL. Propolis maintained a medium to high cell viability between concentration of 0.78 to 0.09 μg/mL, and p-coumaric acid was the major compound.

Brown Brazilian propolis is a promising antifungal candidate against sporotrichosis and more studies need to be undertaken to evaluate its safe use to understand its efficacy.

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Bacteria Derived From Bee Pollen May Help Treat the Flu

Oral administration of heat-killed Lactobacillus kunkeei YB38 improves murine influenza pneumonia by enhancing IgA production

Biosci Microbiota Food Health. 2017;36(1):1-9

Influenza is one of the important respiratory tract infections that require special attention for maintaining health and hygiene. The removal of influenza virus (IFV) by secretory IgA produced by the respiratory epithelium has been reported to be a critical host defense mechanism. Therefore, we isolated Lactobacillus kunkeei YB38 (YB38), the promoter of the salivary IgA secretion in humans, from honeybee pollen and studied the effect of heat-killed YB38 treatment for preventing IFV infection in a mouse model.

Female BALB/c mice received YB38 orally for 21 consecutive days and were then inoculated nasally with IFV. The YB38-treated group with a daily dose of 100 mg/kg showed an increased survival rate after IFV infection relative to the control. IgA secretion in the respiratory epithelium in the YB38-treated group (100 mg/kg) was significantly increased after 6 days of infection, while IL-6 production in the same respiratory site and the number of cells infiltrating into alveoli were significantly decreased. Moreover, lung tissue damage that appeared after IFV infection was reduced.

These results suggested that the YB38 dose induced early and local IgA secretion at the infection site, inhibited persistent IFV infection, and prevented the infiltration of inflammatory immune cells or production of excessive IL-6, resulting in less damage to lung tissues.