Article

Bee venom in cancer therapy

Department of Animal Physiology, University of Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia.
CANCER AND METASTASIS REVIEW (Impact Factor: 7.23). 11/2011; 31(1-2):173-94. DOI: 10.1007/s10555-011-9339-3
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Bee venom (BV) (api-toxin) has been widely used in the treatment of some immune-related diseases, as well as in recent times in treatment of tumors. Several cancer cells, including renal, lung, liver, prostate, bladder, and mammary cancer cells as well as leukemia cells, can be targets of bee venom peptides such as melittin and phospholipase A2. The cell cytotoxic effects through the activation of PLA2 by melittin have been suggested to be the critical mechanism for the anti-cancer activity of BV. The induction of apoptotic cell death through several cancer cell death mechanisms, including the activation of caspase and matrix metalloproteinases, is important for the melittin-induced anti-cancer effects. The conjugation of cell lytic peptide (melittin) with hormone receptors and gene therapy carrying melittin can be useful as a novel targeted therapy for some types of cancer, such as prostate and breast cancer. This review summarizes the current knowledge regarding potential of bee venom and its compounds such as melittin to induce cytotoxic, antitumor, immunomodulatory, and apoptotic effects in different tumor cells in vivo or in vitro. The recent applications of melittin in various cancers and a molecular explanation for the antiproliferative properties of bee venom are discussed.

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    • "The radioprotective , antimutagenic, pain-relieving, anti-inflammatory, antiarthritic, antihyperalgesic, and antinociceptive effects of BV have been documented [6] [7] [8]. BV is a highly complex blend of at least 18 active components , including active peptides, enzymes, and amines that contain histamine, catecholamines, polyamines, melittin, and phospholipase A 2 [9]. Melittin, a highly basic polypeptide, is the principal component of BV and constitutes approximately 50% of its dry weight [10]. "
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    ABSTRACT: This study was carried out to determine the cytotoxic and genotoxic effects of bee venom (BV) and/or the chemotherapeutic agent bleomycin (BLM) on healthy isolated rat lymphocytes utilizing morphometric and molecular techniques. Using the Ficoll-Histopaque density gradient centrifugation technique, lymphocytes were isolated, divided into groups, and subjected to BV and/or BLM at incubation medium concentrations of 10 or 20 μ g/mL respectively for 24 and 72 hrs. An MTT assay and fluorescent microscopy examinations were used to assess the cytotoxic effects. To determine the predominant type of BV and/or BLM-induced cell death, LDH release assay was employed beside quantitative expression analyses of the apoptosis-related genes (Caspase-3 and Bcl-2). The genotoxic effects of the tested compounds were evaluated via DNA fragmentation assay. The results of these assays demonstrated that BV potentiates BLM-induced cytotoxicity through increased LDH release and diminished cell viability. Nevertheless, BV significantly inhibited the BLM-induced DNA damage. The results verify that BV significantly attenuates the genotoxic effects of BLM on noncancerous isolated rat lymphocytes but does not diminish BLM cytotoxicity.
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