Anti-Inflammatory Activity of the Honeybee Plant- Derived Products Honey, Pollen and Propolis
Pp. 313-346 (34)
Joana Liberal, Isabel V. Ferreira, Eliza O. Cardoso, Ana Silva, Ariane R. Bartolomeu, João Martins, Karina B. Santiago, Bruno J. Conti, Bruno M. Neves, Maria T. Batista, José M. Sforcin and Maria T. Cruz
This chapter aims to discuss the effects of honeybee plant-derived products
in inflammatory processes, with particular focus on honey, pollen and propolis. Honey
is mainly composed by fructose and glucose, containing also minerals, proteins, free
amino acids, vitamins and polyphenols and has long been used by humans not only for
nutritional purposes but also as a medicine. The biological properties of honey can be
ascribed to its polyphenolic content which, in turn, is usually associated to its antiinflammatory
activity, as well as antioxidant, antiproliferative and antimicrobial
benefits. Bee pollen results from the agglutination of flower pollens with nectar and
salivary substances of the honeybees. Due to its optimal nutritional balance, it has been
considered as a perfect food all around the world and also used as a therapeutical agent.
However, there is a lack of scientific support addressing the biological activities of bee
pollen. Propolis is produced by bees from secretions of trees, trunks, buds, leaves and
pollen, adding wax and substances secreted by bee glands.
The large and diverse number of chemicals in propolis may justify their biological
activities, namely anti-inflammatory properties. Herein we emphasize the antiinflammatory
potential of the honeybee plant-derived products propolis, honey and
pollen. Whenever possible we also disclose the action mechanisms and the principal
compounds responsible for the biological activity. The intracellular signaling targets of
propolis, honey and pollen are highlighted and summarized in Fig. (1). Overall, the
production of inflammatory mediators, i.e. nitric oxide (NO) and prostaglandins, are
inhibited by the three products partially due to the inhibition of nuclear factor kappa B
(NF-κB) and mitogen activated protein kinases (MAPKs) signaling pathways.
Bee pollen, Chemokines, Cytokines, Flavonoids, Honey, Honeybee,
Immune cells, Immune system, Inflammation, Intracellular signaling pathway s,
Lipopolysaccharide, Macrophages, Mechanism of action, Nitric oxide, Nuclear
factor kappa B, Polyphenols, Propolis, Prostaglandins.
Faculty of Pharmacy and Center for Neurosciences and Cell Biology, Pólo das Ciências da Saúde, Azinhaga de Santa Comba, 3000-548 Coimbra, Portugal.