This study analyzed the mRNA expression of tumor necrosis factor (TNF-α), interleukin 1 beta (IL-1β) and interleukin 6 (IL-6) in mice experimentally infected with T. gondii undergoing honey treatment. Thirty male mice were divided in groups: pre-treatment/infected (1), infected/non-treated (2), infected/treated (3), non-infected/treated (4) and control (5). Honey was applied for groups 1, 3, 4 by gavage and the mice in group 1-3 were infected by T. gondii tissue cysts. The parasite load and the level of mRNA expression of the aforementioned cytokines in the brains of mice were assessed by qPCR. The mean number of T. gondii tachyzoite in 1mg brain tissue was 32, 73 and 59 in groups one, two and three, respectively. The mRNA expression of TNF-α increased in group 1, 2 and 3, about 49.1%, 307.3% and 63.2%, respectively but it was down-regulated by 53% in group 4. The mRNA expression of IL-1β and IL-6 was also up-regulated in all groups except group 2. The mRNA level of TNF-α was reduced by 2.7-fold and 1.18-fold in pre-treated/infected (group 1) and infected/treated (group 3) compared with infected/non-treated (group 2). The mRNA level of IL-1β and IL-6 were increased in these groups. The current study demonstrated that honey can stimulate or suppress the mRNA expression of some pro-inflammatory cytokines in mice brains. Furthermore, honey suppresses the TNF-α mRNA expression in the presence of T. gondii infection but it stimulates the IL-1β and IL-6 mRNA expression. Treatment of the mice with honey reduces parasite multiplication in the brain.
Keywords: Honey; IL-1β; IL-6; T. gondii; TNF-α.
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