Bee venom attenuates neurodegeneration and motor impairment and modulates the response to L-dopa or rasagiline in a mice model of Parkinson’s disease

Document Type : Original Article


1 Holding Company for Biological Products, Vaccines and Drugs (VACSERA), Cairo, Egypt

2 Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Faculty of Pharmacy, Cairo University, Cairo, Egypt

3 Department of Toxicology and Narcotics, National Research Centre, Cairo, Egypt

4 Department of Medical Biochemistry, National Research Centre, Cairo, Egypt

5 Department of Pathology, National Research Centre, Cairo, Egypt


Objective(s): This study aimed to investigate the effect of bee venom, a form of alternative therapy, on rotenone-induced Parkinson’s disease (PD) in mice. Moreover, the possible modulation by bee venom of the effect of L-dopa/carbidopa or rasagiline was examined.
Materials and Methods: Rotenone (1.5 mg/kg, subcutaneously; SC) was administered every other day for two weeks and at the same time mice received the vehicle (DMSO, SC), bee venom (0.065, 0.13, and 0.26 mg/kg; intradermal; ID), L-dopa/carbidopa (25 mg/kg, intraperitoneal; IP), L-dopa/carbidopa+bee venom (0.13 mg/kg, ID), rasagiline (1 mg/kg, IP) or rasagiline+bee venom (0.13 mg/kg, ID). Then, wire hanging and staircase tests were performed and mice were euthanized and brains’ striata separated. Oxidative stress biomarkers namely, malondialdehyde (MDA), nitric oxide (NO), reduced glutathione (GSH), paraoxonase-1 (PON-1), and total antioxidant capacity (TAC) were measured. Additionally, butyrylcholinesterase (BuChE), monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1), tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α), and dopamine (DA) were evaluated. Brain histopathological changes and caspase-3- expression were done.
Results: Bee venom significantly enhanced motor performance and inhibited rotenone-induced oxidative/nitrosative stress, observed as a reduction in both MDA and NO along with increasing GSH, PON-1, and TAC. Besides, bee venom decreased MCP-1, TNF-α, and caspase-3 expression together with an increase in BuChE activity and DA content.
Conclusion: Bee venom alone or in combination with L-dopa/carbidopa or rasagiline alleviated neuronal degeneration compared with L-dopa/carbidopa or rasagiline treatment only. Bee venom via its antioxidant and cytokine reducing potentials might be of value either alone or as adjunctive therapy in the management of PD.


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