Background: It has been previously reported that melittin, the main ingredient of honey bee venom, has anticancer properties. However, there appears to be no earlier study focusing on the isolation of melittin from Iranian honey bee venom (Apis mellifera meda), and evaluation of its effect on cancerous cells.
Methods: We isolated melittin using reversed-phase high performance liquid chromatography, and its potential toxicity on gastric cancer AGS cells was determined with an MTT [3-(4, 5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2, 5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide] assay. Furthermore, to ascertain whether melittin induces apoptosis or necrosis in these cells, morphological evaluation, DNA fragmentation assay, propidium podide and annexin-V-FITC dual staining, and flow cytometric analysis were also conducted.
Results: The results of our study suggested that melittin inhibited the proliferation of AGS cells in a dose and time-dependent trend. All of the above four distinct assays indicated that melittin induces necrosis in AGS cells at concentrations of ≥ 1 μg/mL.
Conclusion: The present study indicated that melittin has an anticancer effect on gastric cancer AGS cells and stimulates necrotic cell death in these cells.
Keywords: Apis mellifera meda; apoptosis; gastric cancer; melittin; necrosis.
Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier Taiwan.