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Bee Products: Recent Progress in Health Benefits Studies

A special issue of Molecules (ISSN 1420-3049). This special issue belongs to the section "Natural Products Chemistry".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 April 2021) | Viewed by 106967

Special Issue Editors

Department of Animal Physiology, Faculty of Science, University of Zagreb, Rooseveltov trg 6, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia
Interests: oxidative stress-induced diseases; natural products; chemoprevention and tumor therapy; bee products and health; radioprotection
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Apiculture is the science of prolonging, sustaining, and retaining health by using products obtained from honey bee hives, such as honey, bee bread, bee venom, bee pollen, propolis, and royal jelly. Bee products serve both as nutritious food and health products in apitherapy. Bee hive products are mainly collected in nature. They originate from the broad kingdom of herbs and trees. After some preparations with enzymes within the gastrointestinal tract of a bee, bee products are deposited into hives and used either for protection against microorganisms or as a food for the bee colony. From the human perspective, bee products are an important source of medicine. Today, there has been a revival of interest in the medical properties of honey bee products becase they exhibit a broad spectrum of activities, including antibacterial, antifungal, cytostatic, wound healing, antitumor, antiallergic, anti-inflammatory, antioxidative, antidiabetic, immunomodulatory, cardioprotective, antiaging, neuroprotective, and radioprotective activities, as well as a control of pain and inflammation in various chronic inflammatory diseases. Accordingly, biomedical scientists have been taking an interest in the medical importance of honeybee products. Currently, many studies are directed towards investigation of health benefits and pharmacological properties of bee products and their capability to reduce chronic disease risks or optimize health in other ways.

There is growing recognition that many polyphenolic compounds present in most plants and bee products may have a beneficial effect on human health. Taking into consideration that daily human diet includes intake of large amount of flavonoids, it is logical to take an interest in their application and potential biological impacts based on their unique structure. The scientific approaches using different bioassays define the potency and efficacy of the use of honeybee products and their copmounds, including flavonoids, as medicines. The emergence of more sophisticated knowledge of chemistry and pharmacology enables extraction and identification of the active agent(s) and brings the possibility of its/their synthesis afterwards. However, the problem associated with the use of honey bee products is related to the presence of more than one active ingredient with quite different pharmacological profiles, all of which must be present in right proportions to achieve optimal effects.

This Special Issue aims to comprehensively highlight the newest discoveries and benefits of honey bee products and their ingredients on many aspects of physiological and patophysiological processes in mammals.

We cordially invite authors to contribute original articles, as well as reviews, that bring new insights into scientific progress and provide an in-depth explanation of the mechanisms of action of honey bee products and their active compounds that hopefully will contribute to potential clinical application in the prevention and treatment of numerous chronic diseases.

Prof. Dr. Nada Orsolic
Dr. Maja Jazvinšćak Jembrek
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • Honey bee products
  • Bioactive compounds
  • Biological and phamacological activity
  • Health benefits
  • Side effects of honey bee products

Published Papers (22 papers)

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Research

Jump to: Review

16 pages, 327 KiB  
Article
Activity of Compounds from Temperate Propolis against Trypanosoma brucei and Leishmania mexicana
Molecules 2021, 26(13), 3912; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26133912 - 26 Jun 2021
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 2469
Abstract
Ethanolic extracts of samples of temperate zone propolis, four from the UK and one from Poland, were tested against three Trypanosoma brucei strains and displayed EC50 values < 20 µg/mL. The extracts were fractionated, from which 12 compounds and one two-component mixture [...] Read more.
Ethanolic extracts of samples of temperate zone propolis, four from the UK and one from Poland, were tested against three Trypanosoma brucei strains and displayed EC50 values < 20 µg/mL. The extracts were fractionated, from which 12 compounds and one two-component mixture were isolated, and characterized by NMR and high-resolution mass spectrometry, as 3-acetoxypinobanksin, tectochrysin, kaempferol, pinocembrin, 4′-methoxykaempferol, galangin, chrysin, apigenin, pinostrobin, cinnamic acid, coumaric acid, cinnamyl ester/coumaric acid benzyl ester (mixture), 4′,7-dimethoxykaempferol, and naringenin 4′,7-dimethyl ether. The isolated compounds were tested against drug-sensitive and drug-resistant strains of T. brucei and Leishmania mexicana, with the highest activities ≤ 15 µM. The most active compounds against T. brucei were naringenin 4′,7 dimethyl ether and 4′methoxy kaempferol with activity of 15–20 µM against the three T. brucei strains. The most active compounds against L. mexicana were 4′,7-dimethoxykaempferol and the coumaric acid ester mixture, with EC50 values of 12.9 ± 3.7 µM and 13.1 ± 1.0 µM. No loss of activity was found with the diamidine- and arsenical-resistant or phenanthridine-resistant T. brucei strains, or the miltefosine-resistant L. mexicana strain; no clear structure activity relationship was observed for the isolated compounds. Temperate propolis yields multiple compounds with anti-kinetoplastid activity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bee Products: Recent Progress in Health Benefits Studies)
20 pages, 3233 KiB  
Article
Formulation of Ocular In Situ Gels with Lithuanian Royal Jelly and Their Biopharmaceutical Evaluation In Vitro
Molecules 2021, 26(12), 3552; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26123552 - 10 Jun 2021
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2559
Abstract
Royal jelly is a natural substance produced by worker bees that possesses a variety of biological activities, including antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and protective. Although fresh royal jelly is kept at low temperatures, to increase its stability, it needs to be incorporated into pharmaceutical [...] Read more.
Royal jelly is a natural substance produced by worker bees that possesses a variety of biological activities, including antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and protective. Although fresh royal jelly is kept at low temperatures, to increase its stability, it needs to be incorporated into pharmaceutical formulations, such as in situ gels. The aim of this study was to formulate in situ ocular gels containing Lithuanian royal jelly for topical corneal use in order to increase the retention time of the formulation on the ocular surface and bioavailability. Gels were evaluated for physicochemical characteristics (pH, rheological properties, refractive index) and in vitro drug release measuring the amount of 10-hydroxy-2-decenoic acid (10-HDA). An ocular irritation test and cell viability tests were performed using the SIRC (Statens Seruminstitut Rabbit Cornea) cell culture line. Results indicated that all the in situ gels were within an acceptable pH and refractive index range close to corneal properties. Rheology studies have shown that the gelation temperature varies between 25 and 32 °C, depending on the amount of poloxamers. The release studies have shown that the release of 10-HDA from in situ gels is more sustained than royal jelly suspension. All gel formulations were non-irritant according to the short-time exposure test (STE) using the SIRC cell culture line, and long-term cell viability studies indicated that the formulations used in small concentrations did not induce cell death. Prepared in situ gels containing royal jelly have potential for ocular drug delivery, and they may improve the bioavailability, stability of royal jelly, and formation of non-irritant ocular formulations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bee Products: Recent Progress in Health Benefits Studies)
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25 pages, 6577 KiB  
Article
The Physicochemical Characteristics of Gelam Honey and Its Outcome on the Female Reproductive Tissue of Sprague–Dawley Rats: A Preliminary Study
Molecules 2021, 26(11), 3346; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26113346 - 02 Jun 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2906
Abstract
Gelam honey (GH) is a prized natural product synthesized from the nectar of flowers from Gelam trees (Melaleuca sp.). Gelam is an evergreen tree species that grows in tropical regions such as Malaysia. GH is a multifloral honey with proven antioxidant and [...] Read more.
Gelam honey (GH) is a prized natural product synthesized from the nectar of flowers from Gelam trees (Melaleuca sp.). Gelam is an evergreen tree species that grows in tropical regions such as Malaysia. GH is a multifloral honey with proven antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. However, the beneficial effect of GH on female reproductive tissue has yet to be substantiated. Herein, we investigated the effects of GH administration on the uterine and vaginal epithelial thickness of sexually mature Sprague–Dawley rats. Epithelia thickness could be an indicator of an atrophy manifesting as a symptom of a cardio syndrome. Rats were given oral doses of GH in four groups for 14 days; the lowest dose was 0.2 g GH/kg body weight (bw) rat/day and the highest dose was 8 g GH/kg bw rat/day. The physicochemical characteristics of GH were assessed through hydroxymethylfurfural and moisture content determination and sugar identification. GH attenuated the atrophy of the uterine and vaginal epithelia and increased the thickness of the endometrial stroma and endometrial surface endothelial layer. However, the dissonance observed in the effect of GH administration on the vaginal epithelium requires further investigation. Nevertheless, GH may have a strong potential in attenuating uterine and vaginal atrophies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bee Products: Recent Progress in Health Benefits Studies)
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12 pages, 781 KiB  
Article
Chemical Profiling and Antimicrobial Properties of Honey Bee (Apis mellifera L.) Venom
Molecules 2021, 26(10), 3049; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26103049 - 20 May 2021
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 3945
Abstract
The incidence of antibiotic resistance in pathogenic bacteria has become an alarming clinical and social problem. Therefore, the demand for alternative antimicrobial compounds has increased. In this study, a chemical profile of honey bee (Apis mellifera L.) venom (HBV) has been determined [...] Read more.
The incidence of antibiotic resistance in pathogenic bacteria has become an alarming clinical and social problem. Therefore, the demand for alternative antimicrobial compounds has increased. In this study, a chemical profile of honey bee (Apis mellifera L.) venom (HBV) has been determined by HPLC and FTIR-ATR spectroscopy, and tested for antibacterial activity, as well as efficiency with regard to conventional antibiotics. The investigated HBV was of high quality with melittin and total protein contents of 70.10 ± 7.01%, and 84.44 ± 3.12 g/100 g, respectively. The purity of HBV was confirmed by FTIR-ATR spectral profiling, which revealed a unique pattern of absorption bands that are characteristic of its major fractions. In addition, HBV showed a broad spectrum of activity against all three tested biomasses of potentially pathogenic Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria with MIC values ranging between 12.5 and 200 µg/mL, and MBC between 12.5 and 400 µg/mL. When compared to conventional antibiotics, HBV (400 µg) showed up to 27.8% efficiency of tetracycline (30 µg), 52.2% erythromycin (15 µg), 21.2% ciprofloxacin (5 µg), and 34.6% of ampicillin-sulbactam (20 µg). The overall results demonstrate the therapeutic potential of the analyzed HBV. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bee Products: Recent Progress in Health Benefits Studies)
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15 pages, 5609 KiB  
Article
Quality Evaluation of Light- and Dark-Colored Hungarian Honeys, Focusing on Botanical Origin, Antioxidant Capacity and Mineral Content
Molecules 2021, 26(9), 2825; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26092825 - 10 May 2021
Cited by 19 | Viewed by 2534
Abstract
Melissopalynology, antioxidant capacity and mineral and toxic element contents were analyzed in eight types of Hungarian honeys. Based on color, two groups were distinguished: light honeys comprised acacia, amorpha, phacelia and linden honeys; while dark honeys included sunflower, chestnut, fennel and sage honeys, [...] Read more.
Melissopalynology, antioxidant capacity and mineral and toxic element contents were analyzed in eight types of Hungarian honeys. Based on color, two groups were distinguished: light honeys comprised acacia, amorpha, phacelia and linden honeys; while dark honeys included sunflower, chestnut, fennel and sage honeys, with 100 to 300 and 700 to 1500 mAU, respectively. The unifloral origin of each sample was supported using pollen analysis. The absorbance of honey correlated positively with antioxidant capacity determined by three different methods (TRC, DPPH, ORAC), and also with mineral content. The exception was the light amber linden honey with significantly higher K content and antiradical activity than other light honeys. The Mn, Zn and Fe contents were the highest in chestnut, sunflower and fennel honeys, respectively. The black meadow sage honey performed best regarding the content of other elements and antioxidant activity. The concentrations of several toxic elements were below the detection limit in the samples, indicating their good quality. The principal component analysis (PCA) revealed correlations between different antioxidant assays and minerals, and furthermore, confirmed the botanical authentication of the honeys based on the studied parameters. To our best knowledge, the present study is the first to provide a complex analysis of quality parameters of eight unifloral Hungarian honeys. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bee Products: Recent Progress in Health Benefits Studies)
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15 pages, 4355 KiB  
Article
Chinese Propolis Suppressed Pancreatic Cancer Panc-1 Cells Proliferation and Migration via Hippo-YAP Pathway
Molecules 2021, 26(9), 2803; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26092803 - 10 May 2021
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 2681
Abstract
Pancreatic cancer is one of the most malignant cancers with high mortality. Therefore, it is of great urgency to develop new agents that could improve the prognosis of Pancreatic cancer patients. Chinese propolis (CP), a flavonoid-rich beehive product, has been reported to have [...] Read more.
Pancreatic cancer is one of the most malignant cancers with high mortality. Therefore, it is of great urgency to develop new agents that could improve the prognosis of Pancreatic cancer patients. Chinese propolis (CP), a flavonoid-rich beehive product, has been reported to have an anticancer effect. In this study, we applied CP to the human Pancreatic cancer cell line Panc-1 to verify its impact on tumor development. CP induced apoptosis in Panc-1 cells from 12.5 µg/mL in a time- and dose-dependent manner with an IC50 value of approximately 50 µg/mL. Apoptosis rate induced by CP was examined by Annexing FITC/PI assay. We found that 48 h treatment with 50 µg/mL CP resulted in 34.25 ± 3.81% apoptotic cells, as compared to 9.13 ± 1.76% in the control group. We further discovered that the Panc-1 cells tended to be arrested at G2/M phase after CP treatment, which is considered to contribute to the anti-proliferation effect of CP. Furthermore, our results demonstrated that CP suppressed Panc-1 cell migration by regulating epithelial–mesenchymal transition (EMT). Interestingly, the Hippo pathway was activated in Panc-1 cells after CP treatment, serving as a mechanism for the anti-pancreatic cancer effect of CP. These findings provide a possibility of beehive products as an alternative treatment for pancreatic cancer. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bee Products: Recent Progress in Health Benefits Studies)
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13 pages, 4329 KiB  
Article
Bee Bread Can Alleviate Lipid Abnormalities and Impaired Bone Morphology in Obese Zucker Diabetic Rats
Molecules 2021, 26(9), 2616; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26092616 - 29 Apr 2021
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 2251
Abstract
This study examined for the first time whether bee bread (BB, consisting of monofloral rape bee pollen) could alleviate lipid derangements and reduced bone quality in Zucker diabetic fatty (ZDF) rats, which are considered an appropriate animal model for type 2 diabetes mellitus [...] Read more.
This study examined for the first time whether bee bread (BB, consisting of monofloral rape bee pollen) could alleviate lipid derangements and reduced bone quality in Zucker diabetic fatty (ZDF) rats, which are considered an appropriate animal model for type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) investigation. Adult ZDF rats were segregated into four groups: lean non-diabetic rats (L group), obese diabetic rats untreated (C group), and those treated with the BB at two doses (500 and 700 mg/kg body weight, respectively, B1 and B2 groups) for 10 weeks. Significantly reduced levels of total cholesterol and triglyceride were recorded in the B2 group versus the C group. In both BB-treated groups, significantly increased relative volume of trabecular bone and trabecular thickness, enhanced density of secondary osteons, accelerated periosteal bone apposition, and improved blood flow were observed. A positive effect of higher dose of BB on femoral weight and cortical bone thickness was also demonstrated. Our results suggest a promising potential of BB to ameliorate T2DM-related complications associated with lipid and bone damages. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bee Products: Recent Progress in Health Benefits Studies)
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14 pages, 895 KiB  
Article
Cluster Analysis Classification of Honey from Two Different Climatic Zones Based on Selected Physicochemical and of Microbiological Parameters
Molecules 2021, 26(8), 2361; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26082361 - 19 Apr 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2604
Abstract
The geographical origin of honey affects its composition, which is of key importance for the health-promoting properties and safety of the product. European regulations clearly define the physicochemical requirements for honey that determine the microbiological quality. On the other hand, legislation abolishes microbiological [...] Read more.
The geographical origin of honey affects its composition, which is of key importance for the health-promoting properties and safety of the product. European regulations clearly define the physicochemical requirements for honey that determine the microbiological quality. On the other hand, legislation abolishes microbiological criteria. In the study 40 honey samples originating from two different climatic zones were analyzed. The water content, pH, water activity analysis and the microbiological quality of honey samples have been tested using the reference plate method (total viable count, yeast and molds, lactic acid bacteria, Bacillus spp.). The cluster classification showed that total viable count of bacteria could be used as a measure alternative to the count of Bacillus spp. and 70% of honeys from the tropical climate zone had different microbiological quality than honeys from the temperate climate zone but still under the level 3.0 log cfu/g. The study has revealed that geographical origin of honey may significantly affect the quality and safety of honey. It was considered that water content can be the most informative and handy marker of the microbiological quality of honeys. Analysis of lactic acid bacteria showed temperate climate zone honeys as a source of beneficial bacteria in the diet. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bee Products: Recent Progress in Health Benefits Studies)
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14 pages, 4780 KiB  
Article
Antioxidative, Antiapoptotic, and Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Apamin in a Murine Model of Lipopolysaccharide-Induced Acute Kidney Injury
Molecules 2020, 25(23), 5717; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25235717 - 03 Dec 2020
Cited by 21 | Viewed by 2362
Abstract
Sepsis is the major cause of acute kidney injury (AKI) in severely ill patients, but only limited therapeutic options are available. During sepsis, lipopolysaccharide (LPS), an endotoxin derived from bacteria, activates signaling cascades involved in inflammatory responses and tissue injury. Apamin is a [...] Read more.
Sepsis is the major cause of acute kidney injury (AKI) in severely ill patients, but only limited therapeutic options are available. During sepsis, lipopolysaccharide (LPS), an endotoxin derived from bacteria, activates signaling cascades involved in inflammatory responses and tissue injury. Apamin is a component of bee venom and has been shown to exert antioxidative, antiapoptotic, and anti-inflammatory activities. However, the effect of apamin on LPS-induced AKI has not been elucidated. Here, we show that apamin treatment significantly ameliorated renal dysfunction and histological injury, especially tubular injury, in LPS-injected mice. Apamin also suppressed LPS-induced oxidative stress through modulating the expression of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate oxidase 4 and heme oxygenase-1. Moreover, tubular cell apoptosis with caspase-3 activation in LPS-injected mice was significantly attenuated by apamin. Apamin also inhibited cytokine production and immune cell accumulation, suppressed toll-like receptor 4 pathway, and downregulated vascular adhesion molecules. Taken together, these results suggest that apamin ameliorates LPS-induced renal injury through inhibiting oxidative stress, apoptosis of tubular epithelial cells, and inflammation. Apamin might be a potential therapeutic option for septic AKI. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bee Products: Recent Progress in Health Benefits Studies)
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24 pages, 4648 KiB  
Article
Natural Phenolic Acid, Product of the Honey Bee, for the Control of Oxidative Stress, Peritoneal Angiogenesis, and Tumor Growth in Mice
Molecules 2020, 25(23), 5583; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25235583 - 27 Nov 2020
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 2003
Abstract
Tumor-associated macrophages (TAM) are key regulators of the link between inflammation and cancer, and the interplay between TAM and tumor cells represents a promising target of future therapeutic approaches. We investigated the effect of gallic acid (GA) and caffeic acid (CA) as strong [...] Read more.
Tumor-associated macrophages (TAM) are key regulators of the link between inflammation and cancer, and the interplay between TAM and tumor cells represents a promising target of future therapeutic approaches. We investigated the effect of gallic acid (GA) and caffeic acid (CA) as strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agents on tumor growth, angiogenesis, macrophage polarization, and oxidative stress on the angiogenic model caused by the intraperitoneal (ip) inoculation of Ehrlich ascites tumor (EAT) cells (2.5 × 106) in Swiss albino mouse. Treatment with GA or CA at a dose of 40 mg/kg and 80 mg/kg ip was started in exponential tumor growth phase on days 5, 7, 9, and 11. On day 13, the ascites volume and the total number and differential count of the cells present in the peritoneal cavity, the functional activity of macrophages, and the antioxidant and anti-angiogenic parameters were determined. The results show that phenolic acids inhibit the processes of angiogenesis and tumor growth, leading to the increased survival of EAT-bearing mice, through the protection of the tumoricidal efficacy of M1 macrophages and inhibition of proangiogenic factors, particularly VEGF, metalloproteinases -2 and -9, and cyclooxygenase-2 activity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bee Products: Recent Progress in Health Benefits Studies)
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13 pages, 2652 KiB  
Article
Preparation of Beebread Caviar from Buckwheat Honey through Immobilization with Sodium Alginate
Molecules 2020, 25(19), 4483; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25194483 - 29 Sep 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2629
Abstract
Honeys have a pleasant taste and a wide range of use. They are characterized by a relatively high consumption compared to bee pollen or beebread. Honeys are the most popular bee products. Considering health reasons, beebread exhibits the strongest properties as it has [...] Read more.
Honeys have a pleasant taste and a wide range of use. They are characterized by a relatively high consumption compared to bee pollen or beebread. Honeys are the most popular bee products. Considering health reasons, beebread exhibits the strongest properties as it has the highest nutritional value as well as strong detoxifying, antioxidant, and antiradical properties. Despite having such valuable properties, consumption of beebread is negligible; sometimes, it is limited only to supplementation in case of diseases. This paper proposes a new food product, that is, beebread caviar made from buckwheat honey. The expiry date and sensory and physicochemical quality of beebread caviar have been determined in this study. Beebread caviar, obtained by immobilization on alginate carrier, contained 0.34 mg GAE/mL extract. It remained stable until five days after preparation. Its total acidity was 33.7 mval/kg. Its extract content was 22.53%. Caviar had a high overall sensory score of 4.8 points on a 5-point scale. Beebread caviar can be successfully classified as probiotic food because beebread contains a large amount of lactic acid. In the form of caviar, a new, attractive, and convenient form of beebread consumption could become one of the products of comfortable and functional food. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bee Products: Recent Progress in Health Benefits Studies)
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26 pages, 2117 KiB  
Article
Interactions between Cisplatin and Quercetin at Physiological and Hyperthermic Conditions on Cancer Cells In Vitro and In Vivo
Molecules 2020, 25(14), 3271; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25143271 - 17 Jul 2020
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 3107
Abstract
Quercetin (QU), a hyperthermic sensitizer, when combined with cisplatin (CP) affects tumor growth. To determine the effects of QU and CP and their interactions, multimodal treatment in vitro and in vivo models under physiological and hyperthermic conditions was performed. In vitro, different sensitivity [...] Read more.
Quercetin (QU), a hyperthermic sensitizer, when combined with cisplatin (CP) affects tumor growth. To determine the effects of QU and CP and their interactions, multimodal treatment in vitro and in vivo models under physiological and hyperthermic conditions was performed. In vitro, different sensitivity of T24 and UMUC human bladder cancer cells was observed after short-term exposure to QU (2 h) and CP (1 h). Effects of both compounds were investigated at low and high micromolar concentrations (1 and 50 µM, respectively) under both thermal conditions. QU acted in additive or synergistic manner in combination with CP between physiological condition and hyperthermia. As determined by 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay, short-term application of QU and CP reduced cell viability. Clonal assay also indicated that combined treatment with QU and CP is lethal to bladder cancer cells in both conditions. In vivo, CP (5 or 10 mg kg−1) and QU (50 mg kg−1) acted synergistically with hyperthermia (43 °C) and inhibited tumor growth, activated immune effectors and increased mice survival. Our results demonstrate that combined treatment with CP and QU may increase death of tumor cells in physiological and hyperthermic conditions which could be clinically relevant in locoregional chemotherapy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bee Products: Recent Progress in Health Benefits Studies)
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Review

Jump to: Research

17 pages, 3526 KiB  
Review
Bee Venom: From Venom to Drug
Molecules 2021, 26(16), 4941; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26164941 - 15 Aug 2021
Cited by 35 | Viewed by 12086
Abstract
Insects of the order Hymenoptera have a defensive substance that contains many biologically active compounds. Specifically, venom from honeybees (Apis mellifera) contains many enzymes and peptides that are effective against various diseases. Different research papers stated the possibility of using bee [...] Read more.
Insects of the order Hymenoptera have a defensive substance that contains many biologically active compounds. Specifically, venom from honeybees (Apis mellifera) contains many enzymes and peptides that are effective against various diseases. Different research papers stated the possibility of using bee venom (a direct bee sting or in an injectable form) in treating several complications; either in vivo or in vitro. Other reports used the active fractions of bee venom clinically or at labratory scale. Many reports and publications have stated that bee venom and its constituents have multiple biological activities including anti-microbial, anti-protozoan, anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, and anti-arthritic properties. The present review aims to refer to the use of bee venom itself or its fractions in treating several diseases and counteracting drug toxicities as an alternative protocol of therapy. The updated molecular mechanisms of actions of bee venom and its components are discussed in light of the previous updated publications. The review also summarizes the potential of venom loaded on nanoparticles as a drug delivery vehicle and its molecular mechanisms. Finally, the products of bee venom available in markets are also demonstrated. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bee Products: Recent Progress in Health Benefits Studies)
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11 pages, 272 KiB  
Review
Establishing Relationship between Vitamins, Total Phenolic and Total Flavonoid Content and Antioxidant Activities in Various Honey Types
Molecules 2021, 26(15), 4399; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26154399 - 21 Jul 2021
Cited by 21 | Viewed by 3395
Abstract
Honey is a well-known natural sweetener and is rich in natural antioxidants that prevent the occurrence of oxidative stress, which is responsible for many human diseases. Some of the biochemical compounds in honey that contribute to this property are vitamins and phenolic compounds [...] Read more.
Honey is a well-known natural sweetener and is rich in natural antioxidants that prevent the occurrence of oxidative stress, which is responsible for many human diseases. Some of the biochemical compounds in honey that contribute to this property are vitamins and phenolic compounds such as phenolic acids and flavonoids. However, the extent to which these molecules contribute towards the antioxidant capacity in vitro is inconsistently reported, especially with the different analytical methods used, as well as other extrinsic factors that influence these molecules’ availability. Therefore, by reviewing recently published works correlating the vitamin, total phenolic, and flavonoid content in honey with its antioxidant activities in vitro, this paper will establish a relationship between these parameters. Based on the literature, vitamins do not contribute to honey’s antioxidant capacity; however, the content of phenolic acids and flavonoids has an impact on honey’s antioxidant activity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bee Products: Recent Progress in Health Benefits Studies)
22 pages, 1000 KiB  
Review
Review on Bee Products as Potential Protective and Therapeutic Agents in Male Reproductive Impairment
Molecules 2021, 26(11), 3421; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26113421 - 05 Jun 2021
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 4668
Abstract
Bee products are sources of functional food that have been used in complementary medicine to treat a variety of acute and chronic illnesses in many parts of the world. The products vary from location to location as well as country to country. Therefore, [...] Read more.
Bee products are sources of functional food that have been used in complementary medicine to treat a variety of acute and chronic illnesses in many parts of the world. The products vary from location to location as well as country to country. Therefore, the aim of this review was to identify various bee products with potential preventive and therapeutic values used in the treatment of male reproductive impairment. We undertook a vigorous search for bee products with preventive and therapeutic values for the male reproductive system. These products included honey, royal jelly, bee pollen, bee brood, apilarnil, bee bread, bee wax, and bee venom. We also explained the mechanisms involved in testicular steroidogenesis, reactive oxygen species, oxidative stress, inflammation, and apoptosis, which may cumulatively lead to male reproductive impairment. The effects of bee pollen, bee venom, honey, propolis, royal jelly, and bee bread on male reproductive parameters were examined. Conclusively, these bee products showed positive effects on the steroidogenic, spermatogenic, oxidative stress, inflammatory, and apoptotic parameters, thereby making them a promising possible preventive and therapeutic treatment of male sub/infertility. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bee Products: Recent Progress in Health Benefits Studies)
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16 pages, 727 KiB  
Review
Application of Propolis in Protecting Skeletal and Periodontal Health—A Systematic Review
Molecules 2021, 26(11), 3156; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26113156 - 25 May 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2546
Abstract
Chronic inflammation and oxidative stress are two major mechanisms leading to the imbalance between bone resorption and bone formation rate, and subsequently, bone loss. Thus, functional foods and dietary compounds with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory could protect skeletal health. This review aims to examine [...] Read more.
Chronic inflammation and oxidative stress are two major mechanisms leading to the imbalance between bone resorption and bone formation rate, and subsequently, bone loss. Thus, functional foods and dietary compounds with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory could protect skeletal health. This review aims to examine the current evidence on the skeletal protective effects of propolis, a resin produced by bees, known to possess antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities. A literature search was performed using Pubmed, Scopus, and Web of Science to identify studies on the effects of propolis on bone health. The search string used was (i) propolis AND (ii) (bone OR osteoporosis OR osteoblasts OR osteoclasts OR osteocytes). Eighteen studies were included in the current review. The available experimental studies demonstrated that propolis could prevent bone loss due to periodontitis, dental implantitis, and diabetes in animals. Combined with synthetic and natural grafts, it could also promote fracture healing. Propolis protects bone health by inhibiting osteoclastogenesis and promoting osteoblastogenesis, partly through its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory actions. Despite the promising preclinical results, the skeletal protective effects of propolis are yet to be proven in human studies. This research gap should be bridged before nutraceuticals based on propolis with specific health claims can be developed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bee Products: Recent Progress in Health Benefits Studies)
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21 pages, 3786 KiB  
Review
Propolis, Bee Honey, and Their Components Protect against Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19): A Review of In Silico, In Vitro, and Clinical Studies
Molecules 2021, 26(5), 1232; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26051232 - 25 Feb 2021
Cited by 72 | Viewed by 17882
Abstract
Despite the virulence and high fatality of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), no specific antiviral treatment exists until the current moment. Natural agents with immune-promoting potentials such as bee products are being explored as possible treatments. Bee honey and propolis are rich in bioactive [...] Read more.
Despite the virulence and high fatality of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), no specific antiviral treatment exists until the current moment. Natural agents with immune-promoting potentials such as bee products are being explored as possible treatments. Bee honey and propolis are rich in bioactive compounds that express strong antimicrobial, bactericidal, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory, and antioxidant activities. This review examined the literature for the anti-COVID-19 effects of bee honey and propolis, with the aim of optimizing the use of these handy products as prophylactic or adjuvant treatments for people infected with severe acute respiratory syndrome-coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2). Molecular simulations show that flavonoids in propolis and honey (e.g., rutin, naringin, caffeic acid phenyl ester, luteolin, and artepillin C) may inhibit viral spike fusion in host cells, viral-host interactions that trigger the cytokine storm, and viral replication. Similar to the potent antiviral drug remdesivir, rutin, propolis ethanolic extract, and propolis liposomes inhibited non-structural proteins of SARS-CoV-2 in vitro, and these compounds along with naringin inhibited SARS-CoV-2 infection in Vero E6 cells. Propolis extracts delivered by nanocarriers exhibit better antiviral effects against SARS-CoV-2 than ethanolic extracts. In line, hospitalized COVID-19 patients receiving green Brazilian propolis or a combination of honey and Nigella sativa exhibited earlier viral clearance, symptom recovery, discharge from the hospital as well as less mortality than counterparts receiving standard care alone. Thus, the use of bee products as an adjuvant treatment for COVID-19 may produce beneficial effects. Implications for treatment outcomes and issues to be considered in future studies are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bee Products: Recent Progress in Health Benefits Studies)
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29 pages, 6273 KiB  
Review
Stingless Bee-Collected Pollen (Bee Bread): Chemical and Microbiology Properties and Health Benefits
Molecules 2021, 26(4), 957; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26040957 - 11 Feb 2021
Cited by 28 | Viewed by 8546
Abstract
Stingless bee-collected pollen (bee bread) is a mixture of bee pollen, bee salivary enzymes, and regurgitated honey, fermented by indigenous microbes during storage in the cerumen pot. Current literature data for bee bread is overshadowed by bee pollen, particularly of honeybee Apis. [...] Read more.
Stingless bee-collected pollen (bee bread) is a mixture of bee pollen, bee salivary enzymes, and regurgitated honey, fermented by indigenous microbes during storage in the cerumen pot. Current literature data for bee bread is overshadowed by bee pollen, particularly of honeybee Apis. In regions such as South America, Australia, and Southeast Asia, information on stingless bee bee bread is mainly sought to promote the meliponiculture industry for socioeconomic development. This review aims to highlight the physicochemical properties and health benefits of bee bread from the stingless bee. In addition, it describes the current progress on identification of beneficial microbes associated with bee bread and its relation to the bee gut. This review provides the basis for promoting research on stingless bee bee bread, its nutrients, and microbes for application in the food and pharmaceutical industries. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bee Products: Recent Progress in Health Benefits Studies)
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16 pages, 1484 KiB  
Review
The Mechanism of Honey in Reversing Metabolic Syndrome
Molecules 2021, 26(4), 808; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26040808 - 04 Feb 2021
Cited by 17 | Viewed by 7483
Abstract
Metabolic syndrome is a constellation of five risk factors comprising central obesity, hyperglycaemia, dyslipidaemia, and hypertension, which predispose a person to cardiometabolic diseases. Many studies reported the beneficial effects of honey in reversing metabolic syndrome through its antiobesity, hypoglycaemic, hypolipidaemic, and hypotensive actions. [...] Read more.
Metabolic syndrome is a constellation of five risk factors comprising central obesity, hyperglycaemia, dyslipidaemia, and hypertension, which predispose a person to cardiometabolic diseases. Many studies reported the beneficial effects of honey in reversing metabolic syndrome through its antiobesity, hypoglycaemic, hypolipidaemic, and hypotensive actions. This review aims to provide an overview of the mechanism of honey in reversing metabolic syndrome. The therapeutic effects of honey largely depend on the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of its polyphenol and flavonoid contents. Polyphenols, such as caffeic acid, p-coumaric acid, and gallic acid, are some of the phenolic acids known to have antiobesity and antihyperlipidaemic properties. They could inhibit the gene expression of sterol regulatory element-binding transcription factor 1 and its target lipogenic enzyme, fatty acid synthase (FAS). Meanwhile, caffeic acid and quercetin in honey are also known to reduce body weight and fat mass. In addition, fructooligosaccharides in honey are also known to alter lipid metabolism by reducing FAS activity. The fructose and phenolic acids might contribute to the hypoglycaemic properties of honey through the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/protein kinase B insulin signalling pathway. Honey can increase the expression of Akt and decrease the expression of nuclear factor-kappa B. Quercetin, a component of honey, can improve vasodilation by enhancing nitric oxide production via endothelial nitric oxide synthase and stimulate calcium-activated potassium channels. In conclusion, honey can be used as a functional food or adjuvant therapy to prevent and manage metabolic syndrome. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bee Products: Recent Progress in Health Benefits Studies)
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17 pages, 700 KiB  
Review
Augmentation of the Female Reproductive System Using Honey: A Mini Systematic Review
Molecules 2021, 26(3), 649; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26030649 - 27 Jan 2021
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 4220
Abstract
Phytochemical contents of honey are presumed to be beneficial to the female reproductive system (FRS). However, the biological effects of honey supplementation (HS) in vivo on the FRS remain unclear. This review aims to investigate the current literature on the effects of HS [...] Read more.
Phytochemical contents of honey are presumed to be beneficial to the female reproductive system (FRS). However, the biological effects of honey supplementation (HS) in vivo on the FRS remain unclear. This review aims to investigate the current literature on the effects of HS on the FRS, particularly on the sex hormone profile and reproductive organs (uterus and vagina). A systematic literature search using Scopus, MEDLINE via Ovid and Cochrane Library databases was conducted. Records were screened and identified for preclinical and clinical studies addressing the effects of HS on the FRS. Data on populations, interventions, outcomes and methodological quality were extracted. Studies were synthesised using tables and written summaries. Of the 198 identified records, six fulfilled the inclusion criteria. All six records were used for data extraction: two experimental studies using rats as the model organism and four human clinical studies of honey on female reproductive health. HS elevated the progesterone levels, restrained body weight increase, prevented uterine and vaginal atrophies in ovariectomised rats, attenuated symptoms of candidiasis and improved oxidative status in patients. Current evidence shows that short-term HS following surgical or physiological menopause exerts an oestrogenic, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effect on the FRS. However, insufficient long-term studies preclude any definitive conclusions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bee Products: Recent Progress in Health Benefits Studies)
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15 pages, 998 KiB  
Review
Drone Brood Homogenate as Natural Remedy for Treating Health Care Problem: A Scientific and Practical Approach
Molecules 2020, 25(23), 5699; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25235699 - 03 Dec 2020
Cited by 17 | Viewed by 4229
Abstract
Drone brood homogenate is a little-known bee product used in folk medicine to treat various health problems. It is a very nutritious milky substance with high content of nutrients: proteins, lipids, fatty acids, carbohydrates, vitamins (A, B, E and D), and minerals. Moreover, [...] Read more.
Drone brood homogenate is a little-known bee product used in folk medicine to treat various health problems. It is a very nutritious milky substance with high content of nutrients: proteins, lipids, fatty acids, carbohydrates, vitamins (A, B, E and D), and minerals. Moreover, when collected on early stage of larvae development, it is, most of all, rich source of sex hormone (testosterone, progesterone and estradiol). Some beekeepers consider drone brood as a waste product, although in some countries they use it to fight Varroa. Meanwhile, in many scientific reports a curative effect of bee drone homogenate in treating urgent global health problems have been confirmed, including ovarian dysfunction in women and male infertility, thyroid and immunity disorders, as well as malnutrition in children. A few dietary supplements based on drone brood are available online. Many patents relating to drone brood-based dietary supplements have been filed in Russia, but their prevalence in EU countries is still limited. Further research is needed to fully recognize the pharmacological activity and increase the use of drone brood. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bee Products: Recent Progress in Health Benefits Studies)
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22 pages, 1817 KiB  
Review
Royal Jelly—A Traditional and Natural Remedy for Postmenopausal Symptoms and Aging-Related Pathologies
Molecules 2020, 25(14), 3291; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25143291 - 20 Jul 2020
Cited by 27 | Viewed by 7757
Abstract
Women’s life stages are based on their reproductive cycle. This cycle begins with menstruation and ends with menopause. Aging is a natural phenomenon that affects all humans, and it is associated with a decrease in the overall function of the organism. In women, [...] Read more.
Women’s life stages are based on their reproductive cycle. This cycle begins with menstruation and ends with menopause. Aging is a natural phenomenon that affects all humans, and it is associated with a decrease in the overall function of the organism. In women, aging is related with and starts with menopause. Also, during menopause and postmenopausal period, the risk of various age-related diseases and complaints is higher. For this reason, researchers were pushed to find effective remedies that could promote healthy aging and extended lifespan. Apitherapy is a type of alternative medicine that uses natural products from honeybees, such as honey, propolis, royal jelly, etc. Royal jelly is a natural yellowish-white substance, secreted by both hypopharyngeal and mandibular glands of nurse bees, usually used to feed the queen bees and young worker larvae. Over the centuries, this natural product was considered a gold mine for traditional and natural medicine, due to its miraculous effects. Royal jelly has been used for a long time in commercial medical products. It has been demonstrated to possess a wide range of functional properties, such as: antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, vasodilatative, hypotensive, anticancer, estrogen-like, antihypercholesterolemic, and antioxidant activities. This product is usually used to supplement various diseases such as cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease, sexual dysfunctions, diabetes or cancer. The main objective of this study is to highlight the effectiveness of royal jelly supplementation in relieving menopause symptoms and aging-related diseases. We also aimed to review the most recent research advances regarding the composition of royal jelly for a better understanding of the effects on human health promotion. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bee Products: Recent Progress in Health Benefits Studies)
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