Biological effects of treatment of an animal skin wound with honeybee (Apis mellifera. L) venom

J Plast Reconstr Aesthet Surg. 2011 Mar;64(3):e67-72. doi: 10.1016/j.bjps.2010.08.022. Epub 2010 Oct 12.


Background: Wound healing is a dynamic and complex process of tissue repair, which involves a number of cellular and molecular events. It progresses from an inflammatory response to re-epithelialisation and, finally, to the formation of a permanent scar. The pharmacological activities of honeybee (Apis mellifera L.) venom (BV) have been used in wound healing for centuries.

Methods: To study wound healing, full-thickness skin defects were produced on the dorsal area of mice. We measured the relative sizes and conducted histological assays of the wounds on days 3, 5 and 7. The expressions of transforming growth factor (TGF)-β1, fibronectin, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and collagen-I mRNA in the wound healing area was measured by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). The amount of TGF-β1, fibronectin, VEGF and collagen-I was determined using immunohistochemical staining.

Results: The wound sizes were small in the BV group compared with the control and Vaseline groups. The BV group demonstrated decreased TGF-β1, fibronectin and VEGF mRNA levels and increased collagen-I mRNA levels. The expressions of TGF-β1, fibronectin and VEGF proteins were significantly lower in the BV group compared with the control group, while the expression of collagen-I was increased in the BV group as indicated by immunohistochemical staining.

Conclusion: These data suggested that BV had significant wound-healing activity. The results from this study indicated that the effects of BV on wound healing may involve biological mechanisms associated with the expressions of TGF-β1, fibronectin, VEGF and collagen-I.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bee Venoms / pharmacology*
  • Collagen / metabolism
  • Fibronectins / metabolism
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Nude
  • Petrolatum / pharmacology
  • Skin / drug effects*
  • Skin / injuries*
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta1 / metabolism
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A / metabolism
  • Wound Healing / drug effects*


  • Bee Venoms
  • Fibronectins
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta1
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A
  • Petrolatum
  • Collagen