J Rhinol.  2011 Nov;18(2):122-127.

The Effects of Bee Venom on the Proliferation and Activation of Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells

Affiliations
  • 1Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, School of Medicine, Catholic University of Daegu, Daegu, Korea. hsseung@cu.ac.kr
  • 2Department of Pathology, School of Medicine, Catholic University of Daegu, Daegu, Korea.

Abstract

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES
Bee venom (BV) has been used as a traditional medicine to treat a variety of diseases, and the anti-inflammatory, antinociceptive, and anticancer activity of BV has been studied over the past few years. This study was designed to investigate the effects of BV on the production of cytokines by peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) and on the proliferation of these cells. In addition, we investigated the potential cytotoxic effects of BV on PBMCs.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
PBMCs from healthy human volunteers were stimulated with 5 microg/mL phytohaemagglutinin (PHA) and 10 microg/mL lipopolysaccharide (LPS) in the presence of different concentrations of BV. The cytotoxic effects of BV were measured using an aqueous cell proliferation assay kit and the supernatants were analyzed using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha), interleukin-5 (IL-5), and interferon-gamma (INF-gamma) levels were measured to determine the activation status of PBMCs. RESULT: Although BV alone did not have a cytotoxic effect on PBMCs, PHA- and LPS-induced cytokine production was significantly inhibited by BV. TNF-alpha and INF-gamma production was inhibited by a lower concentration (0.5-1 microg/mL) of BV than IL-5 (6 microg/mL).
CONCLUSION
BV seems to be relatively safe as a modulator of cytokine production by PBMCs. These experimental data suggest that BV could be used to treat immunologic and inflammatory diseases.

Keyword

Bee venom; Peripheral blood mononuclear cells; Cytokine; Cytotoxicity
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