The aim of this study was to examine possible effects of bee pollen added to the feed mixture (FM) on rat ovarian functions (secretion activity and apoptosis). We evaluated the bee pollen effect on the release of insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I) and steroid hormones (progesterone and estradiol), as well as on the expression of markers of apoptosis (Bcl-2, Bax and caspase-3) in rat ovarian fragments. Female rats (n = 15) were fed during 90 days by FM without or with rape seed bee pollen in dose either 3 kg/1000 kg FM or 5 kg/1000 kg FM. Fragments of ovaries isolated from rats of each group (totally 72 pieces) were incubated for 24 h. Hormonal secretion into the culture medium was detected by RIA. The markers of apoptosis were evaluated by Western blotting. It was observed that IGF-I release by rat ovarian fragments was significantly (p < 0.05) decreased; on the other hand, progesterone and estradiol secretion was increased after bee pollen treatment at dose 5 kg/1000 kg FM but not at 3 kg/1000 FM. Accumulation of Bcl-2 was increased by bee pollen added at 3 kg/1000 kg FM, but not at higher dose. Accumulation of Bax was increased in ovaries of rats fed by bee pollen at doses either 3 or 5 kg/1000 kg FM, whilst accumulation of caspase-3 increased after feeding with bee pollen at dose 5 kg/1000 kg FM, but not at 3 kg/1000 kg FM. Our results contribute to new insights regarding the effect of bee pollen on both secretion activity (release of growth factor IGF-I and steroid hormones progesterone and estradiol) and apoptosis (anti- and pro-apoptotic markers Bcl-2, Bax and caspase-3). Bee pollen is shown to be a potent regulator of rat ovarian functions.
Keywords: IGF-I; apoptosis; bee pollen; steroid hormones.
© 2012 Blackwell Verlag GmbH.