Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Bee Venom Component Prevents Atherosclerosis

Interestingly enough, propolis also shows strong apoptotic (programmed cell death) activity. As a beekeeper, I welcome bee stings as a natural booster shot for my immune system. Fortunately, bee stings stimulate the body locally and systemically...

Apamin Inhibits THP-1-Derived Macrophage Apoptosis Via Mitochondria-Related Apoptotic Pathway
Exp MolPathol, 2012 Apr 17

The development of atherosclerotic lesions is mainly due to macrophage death. The oxidative stresses of monocytes/macrophages play a vital role in the initiation and amplification of atherosclerosis.

Apamin, a component of bee venom, exerts an anti-inflammatory effect, and selectively inhibits the Ca(2+)-activated K(+) channels. The mechanisms involved in the inhibition of macrophage apoptosis have been fully elucidated.
We induced oxidized low-density lipoprotein (oxLDL) in THP-1-derived macrophage and studied the effect of apamin on intercellular lipid levels, mitochondria-related apoptotic pathway and numbers of apoptotic cells. Oil-red O staining indicates that the inhibition of apamin in the condition significantly prevents intracellular lipid deposition.

Treatment with apamin significantly decreased the apoptotic macrophages by decreasing the expression of pro-apoptotic genes Bax, caspase-3 and PARP protein levels, as well as through increasing expression of anti-apoptotic genes Bcl-2 and Bcl-xL protein levels in the absence and presence of oxLDL. In vivo, with apamin treatment reduced apoptotic cells death by TUNEL staining.

These results indicate that apamin plays an important role in monocyte/macrophage apoptotic processing, which may provide a potential drug for preventing atherosclerosis.

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