Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Bee-Derived Molecular Shuttle is the Newest Venom Product

Discover, 4/19/2017

The mechanism for molecular Trojan horses is simple. Just as the infamous Trojan horse ferried hidden soldiers past Troy’s well-guarded gates to gain access to the vulnerable city, molecules that are already capable of passing the blood-brain barrier could theoretically be used to shuttle therapeutic ones to where they are needed most. Lots of research effort recently has gone into identifying potential molecular horses and testing their abilities to drag other compounds across the divide.

Of course, apamin itself is a toxin—not exactly the kind of compound we want a lot of in our brains. So simply shuttling drugs with apamin was out of the question. But a team of scientists, led by the Institute for Research in Biomedicine in Barcelona’s Ernest Giralt, believed they could modify the compound, removing its toxic nature while retaining its brain-accessing abilities.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Antibacterial Action of Polish Melilot Honey

Hydrogen peroxide-dependent antibacterial action of Melilotus albus honey

Lett Appl Microbiol. 2017 Apr 20

Honey originating from different floral sources exhibits the broad-spectrum of antibacterial activity as a result of the presence of hydrogen peroxide as well as non peroxide bioactive compounds. The mechanisms of antibacterial activity of Polish melilot honey were investigated for the first time.

Polish melilot honey samples (Melilotus albus biennal -3 and annual-5, Melilotus officinalis -1) were collected directly from beekeepers and analyzed for pollen profile, basic physicochemical parameters, antioxidant capacity, radical scavenging activity, total phenolics contents as well as antibacterial properties against pathogenic bacteria Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Salmonella spp.

The physicochemical properties of melilot honey were specific for light-colored unifloral honeys and were not dependent on its botanical and geographical origin (P > 0.05). All tested honey samples exhibited inhibitory activity (above 90%) against Gram positive bacteria in the concentration of 12.5 to 25%. Above 30-50% of antibacterial activity of melilot honey was connected with glucose-oxidase enzyme action and was destroyed in the presence of catalase.

Hydrogen peroxide-dependent antibacterial activity of honey was inversely correlated with its radical scavenging activity (r = -0.67) and phenolic compounds ( r = -0.61). Antibacterial action of melilot honey depends not only on hydrogen peroxide produced by glucose-oxidase but also on other non peroxide bioactive components of honey.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Honey Bees Prefer Fresh Bee Bread

Honey bees preferentially consume freshly-stored pollen

PLoS One. 2017 Apr 21;12(4):e0175933

Honey bees (Apis mellifera) collect and store both honey and pollen in preserved forms. Pollen storage involves the addition of honey or nectar and oral secretions to pollen granules. It is controversial whether the duration of pollen storage alters the palatability or nutritive value of the pollen storage medium.

We examined how bees utilize different-aged stored pollen during an extended pollen flow. The deposition of pollen into wax cells and subsequent consumption were monitored daily on 18 brood frames from 6 colonies over an 8d observation period. Despite a greater abundance of older stored pollen cells on brood frames, bees showed a marked preference for the consumption of freshly-stored pollen.

Two to four day-old pollen cell contents were significantly more likely to be consumed, while pollen cell contents more than seven days old were eaten at much lower rates. Similar experiments that controlled for cell abundance and spatial effects using cage assays yielded the same result. One day-old stored pollen was consumed approximately three times more often than 10d-old stored pollen, and two times more often than 5d-old stored pollen. These consumption preferences for freshly-stored pollen occurred despite a lack of clear developmental advantages. Young adult workers reared for 7 days on 1d-, 5d-, or 10d-old stored pollen showed no difference in body mass, stored pollen consumption, hindgut fecal material accumulation, or hypopharyngeal gland (HPG) protein titers, suggesting that different-aged pollen stores did not vary in their nutritional value to adult bees.

These findings are inconsistent with the hypothesis promoting a period of microbially-mediated, "beebread maturation" that results in greater palatability or nutritive value for aged pollen stores. Rather, stored pollen that is not eaten in the first few days accumulates as excess stores preserved in a less preferred, but nutritionally-similar state.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Counterfeiters Stung with New Manuka Honey Authentication

Securing Industry, 4/21/2017

New Zealand is ensuring it maintains its sweet spot with the manuka honey market by devising a sophisticated scientific system to authenticate the spread's source.

The move comes after several overseas markets have questioned the authenticity of some honey labelled as New Zealand manuka honey.

Manuka honey, which is made from the nectar of the manuka plant or New Zealand tea tree (Leptospermum scoparium) that is native to New Zealand, has antibacterial properties and commands a high price tag, up to ten times the price of regular honey. The premium product has a growing export value but has also become the target for food fraud, with consumers duped into paying high prices for mislabelled regular honey.

Earlier this year, jars labelled as New Zealand manuka honey were removed from UK shelves, including Fortnum & Mason, after fakes were discovered that contained lower levels of the active ingredient...

Friday, April 21, 2017

Propolis Component May Help Treat Osteoporosis

Caffeic acid phenethyl ester protects against glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis in vivo: Impact on oxidative stress and RANKL/OPG signals

Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2017 Mar 29;324:26-35

Glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis (GIO) is one of the most common causes of secondary osteoporosis. Given that glucocorticoids are considered as a main component of the treatment protocols for a variety of inflammation and immune-mediated diseases besides its use as adjuvant to several chemotherapeutic agents, it is crucial to find ways to overcome this critical adverse effect. Caffeic acid phenethyl ester (CAPE), which is a natural compound derived from honeybee propolis displayed promising antiosteoporotic effects against mechanical bone injury in various studies. The current work aimed at investigating the potential protective effect of CAPE against GIO in vivo with emphasis on the modulation of oxidative status and receptor activator of NF-kB ligand (RANKL)/osteoprotegrin (OPG) signaling.

The results showed that CAPE opposed dexamethasone (DEX)-mediated alterations in bone histology and tartarate-resistant acid phosphatase (TRAP) activity. In addition, CAPE restored oxidative balance, Runt-related transcription factor 2 (RunX2) expression and reduced caspase-3 activity in femur tissues. Co-administration of CAPE with DEX normalized RANKL/OPG ratio and Akt activation indicating a reduction in DEX-osteoclastogenesis. In conclusion, concurrent treatment of CAPE with DEX exhibited promising effects in the protection against DEX-induced osteoporosis through opposing osteoclastogenesis and protecting osteoblasts. The potent antioxidant activity of CAPE is, at least in part, involved in its anti-apoptotic effects and modulation of RunX2 and RANKL/OPG signals.

The use of CAPE-enriched propolis formulas is strongly recommended for patients on chronic glucocorticoid therapy to help in the attenuation of GIO.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Manuka Honey Effectively Inhibits Biofilm Formation

Antimicrobial effects of Manuka honey on in vitro biofilm formation by Clostridium difficile

Eur J Clin Microbiol Infect Dis. 2017 Apr 18

Clostridium difficile is the cause of the nosocomial C. difficile infection (CDI). The conventional antibiotics used in CDI therapy are often unsuccessful, and recurrent infections may occur. Biofilm formation by C. difficile is associated with chronic or recurrent infections; biofilms may contribute to virulence and impaired antimicrobial efficacy.

Manuka honey, derived from the Manuka tree (Leptospermum scoparium), is known to exhibit antimicrobial properties that are associated with its significant content of methylglyoxal, a natural antibiotic.

The aim of the present study was to determine the antimicrobial effect of Manuka honey on clinical C. difficile strains belonging to four prominent polymerase chain reaction (PCR) ribotypes (RTs) (RT017, RT023, RT027 and RT046) and on their biofilm formation in vitro. Minimal inhibitory and bactericidal concentrations (MICs and MBCs, respectively) were determined using the broth dilution method. The biomass of the biofilm and the clearance of C. difficile biofilms by Manuka honey were determined using the crystal violet staining method.

The MIC and MBC of Manuka honey for C. difficile strains were equal at 6.25% (v/v). PCR RT027 strains produced more biofilm in vitro than the other examined strains. Manuka honey effectively inhibited biofilm formation by C. difficile strains of different PCR RTs.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Bee Venom Component May Help Treat Liver Disease

Apamin suppresses biliary fibrosis and activation of hepatic stellate cells

Int J Mol Med. 2017 May;39(5):1188-1194

Cholestatic liver disease is characterized by the progressive destruction of biliary epithelial cells (BECs) followed by fibrosis, cirrhosis and liver failure. Activated hepatic stellate cells (HSCs) and portal fibroblasts are the major cellular effectors of enhanced collagen deposition in biliary fibrosis. Apamin, an 18 amino acid peptide neurotoxin found in apitoxin (bee venom), is known to block Ca2+-activated K+ channels and prevent carbon tetrachloride-induced liver fibrosis. In the present study, we aimed to ascertain whether apamin inhibits biliary fibrosis and the proliferation of HSCs. Cholestatic liver fibrosis was established in mouse models with 3,5-diethoxycarbonyl-1,4-dihydrocollidine (DDC) feeding. Cellular assays were performed on HSC-T6 cells (rat immortalized HSCs). DDC feeding led to increased hepatic damage and proinflammtory cytokine levels. Notably, apamin treatment resulted in decreased liver injury and proinflammatory cytokine levels. Moreover, apamin suppressed the deposition of collagen, proliferation of BECs and expression of fibrogenic genes in the DDC-fed mice. In HSCs, apamin suppressed activation of HSCs by inhibiting the Smad signaling pathway. These data suggest that apamin may be a potential therapeutic target in cholestatic liver disease.


Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Propolis Component Protects Against Osteoporosis

Caffeic acid phenethyl ester protects against glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis in vivo: Impact on oxidative stress and RANKL/OPG signals

Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2017 Mar 29;324:26-35

Glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis (GIO) is one of the most common causes of secondary osteoporosis. Given that glucocorticoids are considered as a main component of the treatment protocols for a variety of inflammation and immune-mediated diseases besides its use as adjuvant to several chemotherapeutic agents, it is crucial to find ways to overcome this critical adverse effect. Caffeic acid phenethyl ester (CAPE), which is a natural compound derived from honeybee propolis displayed promising antiosteoporotic effects against mechanical bone injury in various studies.

The current work aimed at investigating the potential protective effect of CAPE against GIO in vivo with emphasis on the modulation of oxidative status and receptor activator of NF-kB ligand (RANKL)/osteoprotegrin (OPG) signaling. The results showed that CAPE opposed dexamethasone (DEX)-mediated alterations in bone histology and tartarate-resistant acid phosphatase (TRAP) activity. In addition, CAPE restored oxidative balance, Runt-related transcription factor 2 (RunX2) expression and reduced caspase-3 activity in femur tissues. Co-administration of CAPE with DEX normalized RANKL/OPG ratio and Akt activation indicating a reduction in DEX-osteoclastogenesis.

In conclusion, concurrent treatment of CAPE with DEX exhibited promising effects in the protection against DEX-induced osteoporosis through opposing osteoclastogenesis and protecting osteoblasts. The potent antioxidant activity of CAPE is, at least in part, involved in its anti-apoptotic effects and modulation of RunX2 and RANKL/OPG signals.

The use of CAPE-enriched propolis formulas is strongly recommended for patients on chronic glucocorticoid therapy to help in the attenuation of GIO.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Review of Geographical Origins and Compositions of Propolis

Biological properties of propolis extracts: Something new from an ancient product

Chem Phys Lipids. 2017 Apr 11. pii: S0009-3084(17)30025-7

Natural products are an interesting source of new therapeutics, especially for cancer therapy as 70% of them have botany origin. Propolis, a resinous mixture that honey bees collect and transform from tree buds, sap flows, or other botanical sources, has been used by ethnobotany and traditional practitioners as early in Egypt as 3000 BC.

Enriched in flavonoids, phenol acids and terpene derivatives, propolis has been widely used for its antibacterial, antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties. Even though it is a challenge to standardize propolis composition, chemical analyses have pointed out interesting molecules that also present anti-oxidant and anti-proliferative properties that are of interest in the field of anti-cancer therapy.

This review describes the various geographical origins and compositions of propolis, and analyzes how the main compounds of propolis could modulate cell signaling. A focus is made on the putative use of propolis in prostate cancer.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Urease Inhibition by Manuka Honey Mainly Due to MGO and DHA

Manuka honey (Leptospermum scoparium) inhibits jack bean urease activity due to methylglyoxal and dihydroxyacetone

Food Chem. 2017 Sep 1;230:540-546

Manuka honey (Leptospermum scoparium) exerts a strong antibacterial effect. Bacterial enzymes are an important target for antibacterial compounds. The enzyme urease produces ammonia and enables bacteria to adapt to an acidic environment.

A new enzymatic assay, based on photometric detection of ammonia with ninhydrin, was developed to study urease activity. Methylglyoxal (MGO) and its precursor dihydroxyacetone (DHA), which are naturally present in manuka honey, were identified as jack bean urease inhibitors with IC50 values of 2.8 and 5.0mM, respectively. Urease inhibition of manuka honey correlates with its MGO and DHA content. Non-manuka honeys, which lack MGO and DHA, showed significantly less urease inhibition. MGO depletion from manuka honey with glyoxalase reduced urease inhibition.

Therefore, urease inhibition by manuka honey is mainly due to MGO and DHA. The results obtained with jack bean urease as a model urease, may contribute to the understanding of bacterial inhibition by manuka honey.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Combination of Cinnamon Bark Extract and Honey may Help Treat Acne

Antibacterial Activity of Ethanolic Extract of Cinnamon Bark, Honey, and Their Combination Effects against Acne-Causing Bacteria

Sci Pharm. 2017 Apr 11;85(2)

Propionibacterium acnes and Staphylococcus epidermidis are the major skin bacteria that cause the formation of acne. The present study was conducted to investigate antibacterial activity of ethanolic extract of cinnamon bark, honey, and their combination against acne bacteria. The antibacterial activity of extract of cinnamon bark and honey were investigated against P. acnes and S. epidermidis using disc diffusion. Minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs) and minimum bactericidal concentrations (MBCs) were attained using Clinical and Laboratory Standard Institute (CLSI) methods. The interaction between cinnamon bark extract and honey was determined using a checkerboards method.

The results showed that the MICs of cinnamon bark extract and honey against P. acne were 256 µg/mL and 50% v/v, respectively, while those against S. epidermidis were 1024 µg/mL and 50% v/v, respectively. The MBC of cinnamon bark extract against P. acnes and S. epidermidis were more than 2048 µg/mL, whereas the MBC for honey against P. acnes and S. epidermidis were 100%. The combination of cinnamon bark extract and honey against P. acnes and S. epidermidis showed additive activity with a fractional inhibitory concentration index (FICI) value of 0.625.

Therefore, the combination of cinnamon bark extract and honey has potential activity against acne-causing bacteria.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Bee Products Used to Treat Cancer, Rheumatoid Arthritis


Honey bee products used as medicine

Guardian, 4/13/2017

Bee products such as honey, venom have been used in folk medicine for thousands of years for treating wounds, ulcers, inflammation, infections, pain, allergies and cancer.

Bee venom therapy, the therapeutic application of bee venom have been used in traditional medicine to treat diseases, such as arthritis, rheumatism, pain, cancerous tumors and kin diseases. Bee venom contains a variety of peptides including melittin, apamin, adolapin, the mast – cell-degranulating peptide, enzymes (phospolipase A2), biologically active amines (that is histamine and epinephrine) and nonpeptide components with a variety of pharmaceutical properties.

Cancer treatment

Bee venom has been widely used in the treatment of tumours. Several cancer cells, including renal, lung, liver, prostate, mammary gland as well as leukemia cells can be targets of bee venom peptides such as melittin and phospholipase A2.

In recent study scientists reported that bee venom can induce apoptosis in cancer cells (in human leukemic U937cells) the key regulators in bee venom induced apoptosis are Bcl-2 and caspase-3 through down regulation of the ERK and Akt signal pathway. Melittin, a water-soluble toxic peptide derived from bee venom of Apis mellifera was reported to have inhibitory effects on hepatocellular carcinoma. Melittin inhibits tumor cell metastasis by reducing motility and migration via the suppression of Rac-1 dependent pathway, suggesting that melittin is a potent therapeutic agent for hepatocellular carcinoma. Melittin prevents liver cancer cells metastasis through inhibition of the Rac-1-dependent pathway.

Treatment for rheumatoid arthritis

Bee venom induces apoptosis in rheumatoid synovial cells through a decrease in BCL2 expression and an increase in BAX and caspase-3 expression. Bee venom induces apoptosis through caspase-3 activation in synovial fibroblasts of patients with rheumatoid arthritis...

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Propolis an Alternative Treatment for Denture Soreness

Efficacy of Propolis on the Denture Stomatitis Treatment in Older Adults: A Multicentric Randomized Trial

Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2017;2017:8971746

Our hypothesis tested the efficacy and safety of a mucoadhesive oral gel formulation of Brazilian propolis extract compared to miconazole oral gel for the treatment of denture stomatitis due to Candida spp. infection in older adults. Forty patients were randomly allocated in a noninferiority clinical trial into two groups. The control group (MIC) received 20 mg/g miconazole oral gel and the study group (PROP) received mucoadhesive formulation containing standardized extract of 2% (20 mg/g) propolis (EPP-AF®) during 14 days. Patients were examined on days 1, 7, and 14. The Newton's score was used to classify the severity of denture stomatitis. The colony forming unity count (CFU/mL) was quantified and identified (CHROMagar Candida®) before and after the treatment. Baseline characteristics did not differ between groups. Both treatments reduced Newton's score (P < 0.0001), indicating a clinical improvement of the symptoms of candidiasis with a clinical cure rate of 70%. The microbiological cure with significant reduction in fungal burden on T14 was 70% in the miconazole group and 25% in the EPP-AF group. The EPP-AF appears to be noninferior to miconazole considering the clinical cure rate and could be recommended as an alternative treatment in older patients.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Bee Venom Therapy for Skin Care, Athletic Injuries

BEE SKIN THERAPY: ARE YOU BRAVE ENOUGH TO TRY IT?

BY ASHLEY JIMENEZ • APRIL 10, 2017

Well, there's been quite a buzz around a beauty remedy that involves bee venom. Mexican women are using it to keep a youthful look, while the men use bee stings to cure athletic injuries as a form of natural acupuncture. Even Jennifer Lopez, Kate Middleton and more A-listers are swearing by it.

We did some homework for you around this beauty procedure. Here's some background around the beehive craze.

What is Bee Venom Therapy and how does it work?

Bee venom therapy is an odorless liquid that’s injected into the skin when a bee stings you. It consists of many compounds, the most prominent being melittin, a protein that boasts anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and antiviral properties to the skin. In the venom, there is apitoxin, which helps boost blood circulation and cure inflammation.This then firms and plumps the skin, which is what you'd want in an anti-aging product. Bee venom has been labelled an alternative to Botox since the venom extracts have a relaxing effect on the muscles that make fine lines appear less defined, since collagen strengthens body tissue, while elastin is the protein that helps the skin to remain nice and tight. It helps your skin look younger, fresher and lighter instantly...

What are the pros and cons of bee venom treatment?

The "Bee-tox" is known to stimulate cell restoration, increase blood flow to the skin and trigger the skin to produce natural collagen. Though the skincare industry has been fixated on apitherapy, known as bee venom therapy, it can be extremely painful. Here’s a little background on this all-natural treatment: There have been claims of people using bee venom having fewer swollen joints, tender joints and less morning stiffness. The bee venom procedure can be harmful to those who are allergic. Also, since bee therapy is seen as an alternative medicine, many Western doctors believe it is not always the right answer...