The anti-inflammatory agent Propolis improves wound healing in a rodent model of experimental diabetes

Wound Repair Regen. Sep-Oct 2008;16(5):706-13. doi: 10.1111/j.1524-475X.2008.00421.x.


Foot ulcers and poor wound healing are problematic for patients with diabetes. The beehive protectant Propolis can improve wound healing but whether it can improve healing in diabetic wounds has not been investigated. In this study, the effect of a single application of Propolis on epithelial closure, wound morphology, cellular infiltrate, and blood vessel density were investigated. Diabetes was induced in rats using streptozocin. After 6 weeks, diabetic and control animals were wounded and the wounds were treated with Propolis or saline as control. At days 6 and 12 animals were sacrificed and wounds were excised. Compared with controls, diabetes decreased epithelial closure and reepithelialization but had no effect on wound contraction. These delays were prevented by Propolis. At day 12, the impaired macrophage infiltration (C:1.49+/-0.09 vs. D:0.25+/-0.14), persistent neutrophil infiltration (C:0.22+/-0.19 vs. D:1.33+/-0.81), and increased myeloperoxidase activity (fourfold) in diabetic wounds were prevented by Propolis. Diabetes had no effect on wound volume, vessel number, or branch points. These novel data indicate that Propolis can accelerate wound healing in diabetes. As neutrophil infiltration is normalized, its mechanism of action may be through anti-inflammatory pathways. This result and the established safety profile of Propolis provide a rationale for studying topical application of this agent in a clinical setting.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Diabetes Complications / drug therapy*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Male
  • Propolis / therapeutic use*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Skin Ulcer / drug therapy*
  • Wound Healing / drug effects*


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Propolis