Background/aims: Inflammatory cytokines and oxidative stress have a central role in the pathogenesis of acute pancreatitis. Propolis is a resinous hive product collected by honeybees from various plant sources and has anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant effects. The present work aimed to investigate the therapeutic role of ethanolic extract of propolis on a cerulein-induced acute pancreatitis model in rats.
Methods: Seventy male Wistar albino rats were used in the study. Acute edematous pancreatitis was induced by subcutaneous cerulein injection (20 microg/kg) four times at one-hour intervals. Ethanolic extract of propolis 300 mg/kg was given subcutaneously at the beginning of the procedure (ethanolic extract of propolis-1 group) or 12 h after the last cerulein injection (ethanolic extract of propolis-2 group). Serum amylase and lipase levels, white blood cell count and serum tumor necrosis factor-alpha levels were measured and pancreatic tissue was evaluated histologically.
Results: In the acute pancreatitis group, serum amylase and lipase levels were found to be elevated and the histopathological evaluation of the tissue revealed massive edema and inflammation with less fatty necrosis when compared to the sham and control groups. Serum amylase and lipase levels and edema formation were significantly decreased in the ethanolic extract of propolis-treated groups (p<0.001). In the ethanolic extract of propolis-2 group, in particular, tissue edema was improved markedly (p=0.001). Tissue inflammation and fatty necrosis were decreased with ethanolic extract of propolis treatment; however, the improvement was not statistically significant.
Conclusions: Treatment with ethanolic extract of propolis improved the biochemical and histopathological findings in a rat model of experimental pancreatitis. Although our findings suggest that ethanolic extract of propolis might be considered an effective agent for the treatment of acute pancreatitis, this notion should be supported with further experimental and clinical investigations.