Cutaneous electrical or chemical stimulation can produce an anti-inflammatory effect, which is dependent on adrenal medullary-sympathetic activation. We have previously shown that peripheral injection of bee venom (BV) also produces a significant anti-inflammatory effect that is neurally mediated. In the present study, we examined whether this anti-inflammatory effect is also dependent on the adrenal gland using the mouse inflammatory air pouch model. Subcutaneous (s.c.) BV injection produced a marked suppression of leucocyte migration and tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-α concentration induced by zymosan injection into the air pouch. The role of the adrenal gland in this suppression was evaluated in adrenalectomized mice. Adrenalectomy significantly reversed the suppression of leucocyte migration and TNF-α elevation caused by BV. Serum concentrations of corticosteroid were increased in mice with zymosan-induced air-pouch inflammation and this increase was reduced by BV administration, suggesting that adrenal corticosteroid release is not involved in mediating the anti-inflammatory effects of BV. To test this hypothesis, the corticosteroid receptor antagonist (RU486) was administered and found not to affect the BV-induced inhibition of leucocyte migration. By contrast, pretreatment with the β-adrenergic antagonist propranolol reversed the BV-induced inhibitory effect on leucocyte migration. These results suggest that the anti-inflammatory effect of s.c. BV administration is mediated in part by the release of catecholamines from the adrenal medulla.
- Bee venom