Bee venom reduces neuroinflammation in the MPTP-induced model of Parkinson's disease

Int J Neurosci. 2011 Apr;121(4):209-17. doi: 10.3109/00207454.2010.548613. Epub 2011 Jan 26.


Aim: This study was designed to investigate the anti-inflammatory effects of bee venom (BV) in a 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP)-induced mouse model of Parkinson's disease (PD).

Method: MPTP was administered by intraperitoneal (IP) injection at 2-hr intervals over an 8-hr period. Mice were then subjected to BV subcutaneous injection and sacrificed on days 1 and 3 following the final MPTP injection. The loss of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra pars compacta (SNpc) was assessed by tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) immunohistochemistry. Microglial activation was measured by immunohistochemistry for macrophage antigen complex-1 (MAC-1) and inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS). The staining intensities of MAC-1 and iNOS were quantified with respect to optical density.

Result: In animals treated with MPTP, the survival percentages of TH+ cells in the SNpc were 32% on day 1 and 46% on day 3 compared with normal mice. In BV-treated mice, the survival percentages of TH+ cells improved to 70% on day 1 and 78% on day 3 compared with normal mice. BV treatment also resulted in reduced expression of the inflammation markers MAC-1 and iNOS in the SNpc.

Conclusion: These data suggest that BV injection may have a neuroprotective effect that attenuates the activation of the microglial response, which has implications for the treatment of PD.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 1-Methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine / adverse effects
  • 1-Methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine / antagonists & inhibitors
  • 1-Methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / administration & dosage
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / therapeutic use*
  • Bee Venoms / administration & dosage
  • Bee Venoms / therapeutic use*
  • Cell Death / drug effects
  • Cell Death / physiology
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Dopamine Antagonists / administration & dosage
  • Dopamine Antagonists / therapeutic use
  • Inflammation Mediators / adverse effects
  • Inflammation Mediators / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Neurons / drug effects
  • Neurons / enzymology
  • Neurons / pathology*
  • Neuroprotective Agents / therapeutic use
  • Parkinsonian Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Parkinsonian Disorders / pathology*
  • Random Allocation
  • Substantia Nigra / drug effects
  • Substantia Nigra / enzymology
  • Substantia Nigra / pathology
  • Tyrosine 3-Monooxygenase / biosynthesis
  • Tyrosine 3-Monooxygenase / physiology


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Bee Venoms
  • Dopamine Antagonists
  • Inflammation Mediators
  • Neuroprotective Agents
  • 1-Methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine
  • Tyrosine 3-Monooxygenase