Stingless Bee Honey Reduces Anxiety and Improves Memory of the Metabolic Disease-induced Rats

CNS Neurol Disord Drug Targets. 2020;19(2):115-126. doi: 10.2174/1871527319666200117105133.


Background: Scientific studies support the evidence of the involvement of Metabolic Syndrome (MetS) in the progression of neurodegenerative diseases through oxidative stress. Consumption of antioxidant compounds was found to be beneficial for brain-health as it reduced the brain oxidative stress level and improved cognitive performance in animals. Stingless bee honey or locally known as Kelulut Honey (KH) has high phenolic content and is widely used as a food supplement.

Objectives: In this study, we aimed to investigate the effects of KH on the brain of MetS-induced rats.

Methods: Forty male Wistar rats were divided into 5 groups; 8 weeks (C8) and 16 weeks control groups (C16), groups that received High-Carbohydrate High Fructose (HCHF) diet for 8 weeks (MS8) and 16 weeks (MS16), and a group that received HCHF for 16 weeks with KH supplemented for the last 35 days (KH).

Results: Serum fasting blood glucose decreased in the KH group compared to the MS16 group. HDL levels were significantly decreased in MetS groups compared to control groups. Open field experiments showed that KH group exhibits less anxious behavior compared to the MetS group. Probe trial of Morris water maze demonstrated significant memory retention of KH group compared to the MS16 group. Nissl staining showed a significant decrease in the pyramidal hippocampal cells in the MS16 compared to the KH group.

Conclusion: KH has the ability to normalise blood glucose and reduce serum triglyceride and LDL levels in MetS rats, while behavior studies complement its effect on anxiety and memory. This shows a promising role of KH in attenuating neurodegenerative diseases through the antioxidant activity of its polyphenolic content.

Keywords: Kelulut honey; behavior; brain; metabolic syndrome; neurological function; phenolic content..

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anxiety / drug therapy*
  • Apitherapy*
  • Bees
  • Blood Glucose / drug effects
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Honey*
  • Male
  • Memory / drug effects*
  • Metabolic Syndrome / drug therapy*
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar


  • Blood Glucose