Cytotoxic Effect of Bee ( A. mellifera) Venom on Cancer Cell Lines

J Pharmacopuncture. 2020 Dec 31;23(4):212-219. doi: 10.3831/KPI.2020.23.4.212.


Objectives: Nowadays cancer treatment is an important challenge in the medical world that needs better therapies. Many active secretions produced by insects such as honey bees used to discover new anticancer drugs. Bee venom (BV) has a potent anti inflammatory, anti cancer and tumor effects. The aim of present study is evaluation of anticancer effects induced by Apis mellifera venom (AmV) on cell Lines.

Methods: AmV was selected for study on cancer cell lines. Total protein, molecular weight and LD50 of crude venom were determined. Then, cells were grown in Dulbecco's Modified Eagle medium supplemented with 10% fetal bovine serum and 1% antibiotics. The A549, HeLa and MDA-MB-231 cell Lines were exposed by different concentration of AmV. The morphology of cells was determined and cell viability was studed by MTT assay. Evaluation of cell death was determined by and DNA fragmentation.

Results: The results from MTT assay showed that 3.125 µg/mL of A549, 12.5 for HeLa and 6.25 µg/mL of MDA-MB-231 killed 50% of cells (p < 0.05). Morphological analysis and the results from hoescht staining and DNA fragmentation indicated that cell death induced by AmV was significantly apoptosis.

Conclusion: The data showed that using lower dosage of AmV during treatment period cause inhibition of proliferation in time and dose dependant manner. Findings indicated that some ingredients of AmV have anticancer effects and with further investigation it can be used in production of anticancer drugs.

Keywords: MTT; apoptosis; bee venom; cancer; cell lines.