Recently, the antinociceptive and anti-inflammatory efficacy of bee venom (BV, Apis mellifera) has been confirmed in rodent models of inflammation and arthritis. Interestingly, the antinociceptive and anti-inflammatory effect of whole BV can be reproduced by two water-soluble fractions of BV (>20 kDa:BVAF1 and<10 kDa: BVAF3). Based on these scientific findings, BV and its effective water-soluble fractions have been proposed as potential anti-inflammatory and antinociceptive pharmaceuticals. While BV's anti-inflammatory and antinociceptive properties have been well documented, there have been no careful studies of potential, side effects of BV and its fractions when administered in the therapeutic range (BV, 5 microgram/kg; BVAF1, 0.2 microgram/kg: BVAF3, 3 microgram/kg; subcutaneous or intradermal). Such information is critical for future clinical use of BV in humans. Because of this paucity of information, the present study was designed to determine the general pharmacological/physiological effects of BV and its fractions administration on the rodent central nervous, cardiovascular, respiratory and gastrointestinal system. Subcutaneous BV and its fractions treatment did not produce any significant effects on general physiological functions at the highest dose tested (200-fold and 100-fold doses higher than that used clinically, respectively) except writhing test. These results demonstrate that doses of BV or BV subfractions in the therapeutic range or higher can be used as safe antinociceptive and anti-inflammatory agents.
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