Bee venom suppresses testosterone-induced benign prostatic hyperplasia by regulating the inflammatory response and apoptosis

Exp Biol Med (Maywood). 2015 Dec;240(12):1656-63. doi: 10.1177/1535370215590823. Epub 2015 Jun 17.


Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), which is a common disorder in aging men, involves inflammation that is associated with an imbalance between cell proliferation and cell death. Because current BPH drug treatments have undesirable side effects, the development of well-tolerated and effective alternative medicines to treat BPH is of interest. Bee venom (BV) has been used in traditional medicine to treat conditions, such as arthritis and rheumatism, and pain. Although inflammation has been associated with BPH and BV has strong anti-inflammatory effects, the effects of BV on BPH are not fully understood. Therefore, in this study, we evaluated the efficacy of BV against testosterone-induced BPH in rats. BV decreased prostate weight compared to the untreated group. In addition, BV suppressed serum dihydrotestosterone concentration levels and the levels of proliferating cell nuclear antigen in the histological analysis. Furthermore, BV significantly decreased the levels of the apoptotic suppressors, Bcl-2 and Bcl-xL, and increased the levels of the proapoptotic factors, Bax and caspase-3 activation. These results suggested that BV suppressed the development of BPH and has good potential as a treatment for BPH.

Keywords: Bcl-2/Bax ratio; Bee venom; Benign prostatic hyperplasia; apoptosis; caspase; inflammation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / drug effects*
  • Bee Venoms / therapeutic use*
  • Blotting, Western
  • Dihydrotestosterone / blood
  • Inflammation / drug therapy*
  • Male
  • Organ Size / drug effects
  • Proliferating Cell Nuclear Antigen / blood
  • Prostate / drug effects
  • Prostate / pathology
  • Prostatic Hyperplasia / chemically induced
  • Prostatic Hyperplasia / drug therapy*
  • Prostatic Hyperplasia / pathology
  • Prostatic Hyperplasia / physiopathology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Testosterone / pharmacology


  • Bee Venoms
  • Proliferating Cell Nuclear Antigen
  • Dihydrotestosterone
  • Testosterone