Propolis inhibits osteoclast maturation

Dent Traumatol. 2009 Dec;25(6):584-588. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-9657.2009.00821.x. Epub 2009 Oct 14.


Propolis, a natural product produced by the honey bee, has been successfully used in medicine as an anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial agent. Traumatic injuries to the teeth, especially avulsion injuries, present a challenging situation for the clinician because of post-treatment complications, such as inflammatory and/or replacement resorption. Agents that reduce osteoclast numbers and activity may be useful in the treatment of traumatic injuries to the teeth. In this study, we evaluated propolis as an anti-resorptive agent. Calcitriol-stimulated mouse marrow cultures, which contain both osteoclasts and osteoblasts, were exposed to the ethanol extracts of propolis or vehicle control and stained for tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase (TRAP)-activity to identify osteoclasts. A significant, dose-dependent reduction in multinuclear TRAP+ cells was demonstrated, although the propolis treatment accommodated cell growth and survival (P < 0.05). Propolis also reduced the formation of actin rings in pure cultures of RAW 264.7 osteoclast-like cells, suggesting that it exerts direct actions on osteoclast maturation. In summary, our data suggest that propolis inhibits late stages of osteoclast maturation including fusion of osteoclasts precursors to form giant cells and formation of actin rings. This supports the hypothesis that it may prove useful as a medicament to reduce resorption associated with traumatic injuries to the teeth.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / pharmacology*
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / therapeutic use
  • Bone Marrow Cells
  • Cell Line
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred Strains
  • Osteoclasts / drug effects*
  • Propolis / pharmacology*
  • Propolis / therapeutic use
  • Root Resorption / etiology
  • Root Resorption / prevention & control*
  • Tooth Avulsion / complications
  • Tooth Replantation / adverse effects*


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Propolis