bee venoms


Summary: Venoms obtained from Apis mellifera (honey bee) and related species. They contain various enzymes, polypeptide toxins, and other substances, some of which are allergenic or immunogenic or both. These venoms were formerly used in rheumatism to stimulate the pituitary-adrenal system.

Top Publications

  1. Perumal Samy R, Gopalakrishnakone P, Thwin M, Chow T, Bow H, Yap E, et al. Antibacterial activity of snake, scorpion and bee venoms: a comparison with purified venom phospholipase A2 enzymes. J Appl Microbiol. 2007;102:650-9 pubmed
    ..The results would be useful for further purification and characterization of antibacterial agents from snake venoms. The activity of LAAO and PLA(2) enzymes may be associated with the antibacterial activity of snake venoms. ..
  2. Hilder T, Chung S. Conduction and block of inward rectifier K+ channels: predicted structure of a potent blocker of Kir2.1. Biochemistry. 2013;52:967-74 pubmed publisher
    ..7 nM). This potent blocker of Kir2.1 may serve as a structural template from which potent compounds for the treatment of various diseases mediated by this channel subfamily, such as cardiac arrhythmia, can be developed. ..
  3. Muller U, Johansen N, Petersen A, Fromberg Nielsen J, Haeberli G. Hymenoptera venom allergy: analysis of double positivity to honey bee and Vespula venom by estimation of IgE antibodies to species-specific major allergens Api m1 and Ves v5. Allergy. 2009;64:543-8 pubmed publisher
    ..Double positivity of IgE to bee and Vespula venom is often caused by crossreactions, especially to CCDs. IgE to both Api m1 and Ves v5 indicates true double sensitization and immunotherapy with both venoms. ..
  4. Voigt N, Maguy A, Yeh Y, Qi X, Ravens U, Dobrev D, et al. Changes in I K, ACh single-channel activity with atrial tachycardia remodelling in canine atrial cardiomyocytes. Cardiovasc Res. 2008;77:35-43 pubmed
    ..These results suggest an important role for constitutive I K,Ach channel opening in AT remodelling and support its interest as a potential target for AF therapy. ..
  5. Son D, Lee J, Lee Y, Song H, Lee C, Hong J. Therapeutic application of anti-arthritis, pain-releasing, and anti-cancer effects of bee venom and its constituent compounds. Pharmacol Ther. 2007;115:246-70 pubmed
    ..The conjugation of cell lytic peptide (melittin) with hormone receptors and gene therapy carrying melittin can be useful as a novel targeted therapy for some types of cancer, such as prostate and breast cancer. ..
  6. FitzGerald K, Flood A. Hymenoptera stings. Clin Tech Small Anim Pract. 2006;21:194-204 pubmed
    ..In the following review article, we will examine the sources and incidence, toxicokinetics, pathological lesions, clinical signs, diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis for dogs and cats suffering Hymenoptera stings. ..
  7. Metz M, Piliponsky A, Chen C, Lammel V, Abrink M, Pejler G, et al. Mast cells can enhance resistance to snake and honeybee venoms. Science. 2006;313:526-30 pubmed
    ..These findings identify a new biological function for mast cells in enhancing resistance to the morbidity and mortality induced by animal venoms. ..
  8. Kim J, Yang E, Lee M, Kim Y, Huh Y, Cho I, et al. Bee venom reduces neuroinflammation in the MPTP-induced model of Parkinson's disease. Int J Neurosci. 2011;121:209-17 pubmed publisher
    ..These data suggest that BV injection may have a neuroprotective effect that attenuates the activation of the microglial response, which has implications for the treatment of PD. ..
  9. Blank S, Bantleon F, McIntyre M, Ollert M, Spillner E. The major royal jelly proteins 8 and 9 (Api m 11) are glycosylated components of Apis mellifera venom with allergenic potential beyond carbohydrate-based reactivity. Clin Exp Allergy. 2012;42:976-85 pubmed publisher
    ..Due to their allergenic properties, MRJP8 and MRJP9 were designated as isoallergens Api m 11.0101 and Api m 11.0201 respectively. ..

More Information


  1. Choisy S, Cheng H, Smith G, James A, Hancox J. Modulation by endothelin-1 of spontaneous activity and membrane currents of atrioventricular node myocytes from the rabbit heart. PLoS ONE. 2012;7:e33448 pubmed publisher
    ..The dominant effect of ET-1 in this study was activation of a tertiapin-Q sensitive inwardly rectifying K(+) current via ET(A) receptors, which led rapidly to cell quiescence. ..
  2. Qiu Y, Choo Y, Yoon H, Jia J, Cui Z, Wang D, et al. Fibrin(ogen)olytic activity of bumblebee venom serine protease. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2011;255:207-13 pubmed publisher
    ..These findings offer significant insight into the allergic reaction sequence that is initiated by bee venom serine protease and its potential usefulness as a clinical agent in the field of hemostasis and thrombosis. ..
  3. Jin C, Hantusch B, Hemmer W, Stadlmann J, Altmann F. Affinity of IgE and IgG against cross-reactive carbohydrate determinants on plant and insect glycoproteins. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2008;121:185-190.e2 pubmed
    ..Notably, the affinity of IgG to CCDs is higher than that to protein allergens, and it may therefore function as blocking antibody. ..
  4. Bolter C, English D. The effects of tertiapin-Q on responses of the sinoatrial pacemaker of the guinea-pig heart to vagal nerve stimulation and muscarinic agonists. Exp Physiol. 2008;93:53-63 pubmed
  5. Han S, Lee K, Yeo J, Kweon H, Woo S, Lee M, et al. Effect of honey bee venom on microglial cells nitric oxide and tumor necrosis factor-alpha production stimulated by LPS. J Ethnopharmacol. 2007;111:176-81 pubmed
    ..KBV could be useful in inhibiting the production of inflammatory cytokine and NO production in neurodegenerative diseases. Further studies on the pharmacological aspects of the individual components of KBV are recommended. ..
  6. Grunwald T, Bockisch B, Spillner E, Ring J, Bredehorst R, Ollert M. Molecular cloning and expression in insect cells of honeybee venom allergen acid phosphatase (Api m 3). J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2006;117:848-54 pubmed publisher
  7. Tarzi M, Klunker S, Texier C, Verhoef A, Stapel S, Akdis C, et al. Induction of interleukin-10 and suppressor of cytokine signalling-3 gene expression following peptide immunotherapy. Clin Exp Allergy. 2006;36:465-74 pubmed
    ..HLA-DR-based T cell epitopes modify surrogate markers associated with successful immunotherapy and induction of immune regulation, supporting the concept that this form of treatment may be efficacious in human allergic disease. ..
  8. Choo Y, Lee K, Yoon H, Je Y, Lee S, Sohn H, et al. Molecular cloning and antimicrobial activity of bombolitin, a component of bumblebee Bombus ignitus venom. Comp Biochem Physiol B Biochem Mol Biol. 2010;156:168-73 pubmed publisher
    ..In addition, the B. ignitus bombolitin displayed antifungal activity against the plant pathogenic fungi Fulvia fulva and Alternaria radicina. ..
  9. Ferreira Junior R, Sciani J, Marques Porto R, Junior A, Orsi R, Barraviera B, et al. Africanized honey bee (Apis mellifera) venom profiling: Seasonal variation of melittin and phospholipase A(2) levels. Toxicon. 2010;56:355-62 pubmed publisher
    ..This variation does not correlate or synchronize with any climatic parameter. Data on the variation of the AHB venom composition is necessary to guide future intra and inter species studies. ..
  10. Mertens M, Amler S, Moerschbacher B, Brehler R. Cross-reactive carbohydrate determinants strongly affect the results of the basophil activation test in hymenoptera-venom allergy. Clin Exp Allergy. 2010;40:1333-45 pubmed publisher
  11. Chen J, Lariviere W. The nociceptive and anti-nociceptive effects of bee venom injection and therapy: a double-edged sword. Prog Neurobiol. 2010;92:151-83 pubmed publisher
    ..This report highlights key patterns of results, critical shortcomings, and essential areas requiring further study. ..
  12. Blank S, Seismann H, Michel Y, McIntyre M, Cifuentes L, Braren I, et al. Api m 10, a genuine A. mellifera venom allergen, is clinically relevant but underrepresented in therapeutic extracts. Allergy. 2011;66:1322-9 pubmed publisher
    ..Furthermore, the presence of Api m 10 in honeybee venom (HBV) and licensed venom immunotherapy preparations was addressed...
  13. Rueff F, Przybilla B, Biló M, Muller U, Scheipl F, Aberer W, et al. Predictors of severe systemic anaphylactic reactions in patients with Hymenoptera venom allergy: importance of baseline serum tryptase-a study of the European Academy of Allergology and Clinical Immunology Interest Group on Insect Venom Hypersensitiv. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2009;124:1047-54 pubmed publisher
    ..Preventive measures should include substitution of angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors. ..
  14. MATHEW A, Chrispal A, David T. Acute myocardial injury and rhabdomyolysis caused by multiple bee stings. J Assoc Physicians India. 2011;59:518-20 pubmed
    ..Acute myocardial ischemia due to bee envenomation is a rare event. We report the case of a 65 year old lady who presented with acute myocardial ischemia, severe rhabdomyolysis and angioedema following massive bee envenomation...
  15. Doo A, Kim S, Kim S, Park J, Chung S, Choe B, et al. Bee venom protects SH-SY5Y human neuroblastoma cells from 1-methyl-4-phenylpyridinium-induced apoptotic cell death. Brain Res. 2012;1429:106-15 pubmed publisher
    ..These results provide new evidence for elucidating the mechanism of neuroprotection of bee venom against PD. ..
  16. Orsolic N. Bee venom in cancer therapy. Cancer Metastasis Rev. 2012;31:173-94 pubmed publisher
    ..The recent applications of melittin in various cancers and a molecular explanation for the antiproliferative properties of bee venom are discussed. ..
  17. Han S, Lee K, Yeo J, Oh B, Kim B, Lee W, et al. Effects of honeybee venom supplementation in drinking water on growth performance of broiler chickens. Poult Sci. 2010;89:2396-400 pubmed publisher
    ..05) in comparison with those without BV supplementation. These data indicate a possibility of better broiler performance through BV supplementation under conditions of severe stressful challenges the newly born chicks encounter. ..
  18. Przybilla B, Rueff F. Hymenoptera venom allergy. J Dtsch Dermatol Ges. 2010;8:114-27; quiz 128-30 pubmed publisher
  19. Xin Y, Choo Y, Hu Z, Lee K, Yoon H, Cui Z, et al. Molecular cloning and characterization of a venom phospholipase A2 from the bumblebee Bombus ignitus. Comp Biochem Physiol B Biochem Mol Biol. 2009;154:195-202 pubmed publisher
    ..ignitus worker bees hydrolyzed DBPC, a known substrate of PLA(2). Immunofluorescence staining of Bi-PLA(2)-treated insect Sf9 cells revealed that Bi-PLA(2) binds at the cell membrane and induces apoptotic cell death. ..
  20. Sturm G, Kranzelbinder B, Sturm E, Heinemann A, Groselj Strele A, Aberer W. The basophil activation test in the diagnosis of allergy: technical issues and critical factors. Allergy. 2009;64:1319-26 pubmed publisher
    ..In contrast to the skin test, BAT can be performed in patients undergoing treatment with antihistamines. For reasons of multiple influencing factors, BAT should be performed only at validated laboratories. ..
  21. Van Vaerenbergh M, Cardoen D, Formesyn E, Brunain M, Van Driessche G, Blank S, et al. Extending the honey bee venome with the antimicrobial peptide apidaecin and a protein resembling wasp antigen 5. Insect Mol Biol. 2013;22:199-210 pubmed publisher
    ..Also, no IgG4-based cross-reactivity was detected between the honey bee Ag5-like protein and its yellow jacket paralogue Ves v 5...
  22. Peiren N, de Graaf D, Vanrobaeys F, Danneels E, Devreese B, Van Beeumen J, et al. Proteomic analysis of the honey bee worker venom gland focusing on the mechanisms of protection against tissue damage. Toxicon. 2008;52:72-83 pubmed publisher
    ..Two endocuticular structural proteins were abundantly present in the 2D-gel and most probably represent a structural component of the epicuticular lining that protects the secretory cells from the toxins they produce...
  23. Lee M, Pittler M, Shin B, Kong J, Ernst E. Bee venom acupuncture for musculoskeletal pain: a review. J Pain. 2008;9:289-97 pubmed publisher
    ..However, primary data were scarce. Future RCTs should assess larger patient samples for longer treatment periods and include appropriate controls. ..
  24. Han S, Lee K, Yeo J, Kim W, Park K. Biological effects of treatment of an animal skin wound with honeybee (Apis mellifera. L) venom. J Plast Reconstr Aesthet Surg. 2011;64:e67-72 pubmed publisher
    ..The results from this study indicated that the effects of BV on wound healing may involve biological mechanisms associated with the expressions of TGF-?1, fibronectin, VEGF and collagen-I. ..
  25. Liu X, Zhang J, Zheng H, Liu F, Chen Y. [Clinical randomized study of bee-sting therapy for rheumatoid arthritis]. Zhen Ci Yan Jiu. 2008;33:197-200 pubmed
  26. Gajski G, Garaj Vrhovac V. Radioprotective effects of honeybee venom (Apis mellifera) against 915-MHz microwave radiation-induced DNA damage in wistar rat lymphocytes: in vitro study. Int J Toxicol. 2009;28:88-98 pubmed publisher
    ..Bee venom is demonstrated to have a radioprotective effect against basal and oxidative DNA damage. Furthermore, bee venom is not genotoxic and does not produce oxidative damage in the low concentrations used in this study. ..
  27. Han S, Lee K, Yeo J, Hwang S, Jang C, Chenoweth P, et al. Effects of bee venom treatment on growth performance of young pigs. Am J Chin Med. 2009;37:253-60 pubmed
    ..These results would be useful for further purification and characterization of immune boosting agents from BV. ..
  28. Goldberg A, Confino Cohen R. Bee venom immunotherapy - how early is it effective?. Allergy. 2010;65:391-5 pubmed publisher
    ..We examined the effectiveness of bee VIT within a week after the MD was achieved...
  29. Hoffman D. Hymenoptera venom allergens. Clin Rev Allergy Immunol. 2006;30:109-28 pubmed
    ..Examples of the use of these techniques with venom proteins are presented. ..
  30. Seismann H, Blank S, Braren I, Greunke K, Cifuentes L, Grunwald T, et al. Dissecting cross-reactivity in hymenoptera venom allergy by circumvention of alpha-1,3-core fucosylation. Mol Immunol. 2010;47:799-808 pubmed publisher
    ..These findings show that the use of recombinant molecules devoid of CCDs represents a novel strategy with major implications for diagnostic and therapeutic approaches. ..
  31. Doo A, Kim S, Kim S, Moon W, Yin C, Chae Y, et al. Neuroprotective effects of bee venom pharmaceutical acupuncture in acute 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine-induced mouse model of Parkinson's disease. Neurol Res. 2010;32 Suppl 1:88-91 pubmed publisher
    ..Our results suggest that bee venom acupuncture could be a potential preventive agent for Parkinson's disease. ..
  32. Blank S, Seismann H, Bockisch B, Braren I, Cifuentes L, McIntyre M, et al. Identification, recombinant expression, and characterization of the 100 kDa high molecular weight Hymenoptera venom allergens Api m 5 and Ves v 3. J Immunol. 2010;184:5403-13 pubmed publisher
    ..Moreover, the patient IgE reactivity together with the cellular activation demonstrates for the first time the relevance of high m.w. allergens in the context of hymenoptera venom allergy...
  33. Sturm G, Schuster C, Kranzelbinder B, Wiednig M, Groselj Strele A, Aberer W. Asymptomatic sensitization to hymenoptera venom is related to total immunoglobulin E levels. Int Arch Allergy Immunol. 2009;148:261-4 pubmed publisher
    ..0), respectively; p < 0001]. Specific antibodies are frequently seen in individuals with high tIgE, but appear to be largely irrelevant in clinical terms. This might lead to misdiagnosis in persons with an inconclusive sting history. ..
  34. Chen H, Qu F, He X, Liao D, Kang S, Lu S. The anti-nociceptive effect and the possible mechanism of acupoint stimulation caused by chemical irritants in the bee venom pain model. Brain Res. 2010;1355:61-9 pubmed publisher
    ..Our results also suggest that the BVA-induced anti-nociceptive mechanism is partially mediated by capsaicin-sensitive primary afferent fibers but not by endogenous mu opioid receptors in the BV pain model. ..
  35. Blank S, Michel Y, Seismann H, Plum M, Greunke K, Grunwald T, et al. Evaluation of different glycoforms of honeybee venom major allergen phospholipase A2 (Api m 1) produced in insect cells. Protein Pept Lett. 2011;18:415-22 pubmed
    ..Thus, insect cell-derived recombinant Api m 1 with defined CCD phenotypes might provide further insights into hymenoptera venom IgE reactivities and contribute to an improved diagnosis of hymenoptera venom allergy...
  36. Watanabe A, Fonseca L, Galvão C, Kalil J, Castro F. Specific immunotherapy using Hymenoptera venom: systematic review. Sao Paulo Med J. 2010;128:30-7 pubmed
    ..On the other hand, the risk-benefit relation should always be assessed in each case. ..
  37. Choo Y, Lee K, Yoon H, Kim B, Sohn M, Roh J, et al. Dual function of a bee venom serine protease: prophenoloxidase-activating factor in arthropods and fibrin(ogen)olytic enzyme in mammals. PLoS ONE. 2010;5:e10393 pubmed publisher
    ..These findings provide a novel view of the mechanism of bee venom in which the bee venom serine protease kills target insects via a melanization strategy and exhibits fibrin(ogen)olytic activity. ..
  38. Zuberi Z, Birnbaumer L, Tinker A. The role of inhibitory heterotrimeric G proteins in the control of in vivo heart rate dynamics. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2008;295:R1822-30 pubmed publisher
    ..In contrast, Galphai1 and Galphai3 do not appear to be essential for parasympathetic responses in vivo. ..
  39. Gmachl M, Kreil G. Bee venom hyaluronidase is homologous to a membrane protein of mammalian sperm. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1993;90:3569-73 pubmed
    ..These structural data support the long-held view that hyaluronidases play a role in fertilization...
  40. Egner W, Ward C, Brown D, Ewan P. The frequency and clinical significance of specific IgE to both wasp (Vespula) and honey-bee (Apis) venoms in the same patient. Clin Exp Allergy. 1998;28:26-34 pubmed
    ..Identification of the causative venom must utilize both clinical history and skin testing in these double-positive patients, and challenge testing if indicated. ..
  41. Chen J, Chen H. Pivotal role of capsaicin-sensitive primary afferents in development of both heat and mechanical hyperalgesia induced by intraplantar bee venom injection. Pain. 2001;91:367-76 pubmed
  42. Ramu Y, Klem A, Lu Z. Titration of tertiapin-Q inhibition of ROMK1 channels by extracellular protons. Biochemistry. 2001;40:3601-5 pubmed
    ..This derivative-denoted tertiapin-KQ (TPN(KQ))-not only is practically insensitive to extracellular pH but also binds to the channel with even higher affinity than TPN(Q) at extracellular pH 7.6. ..
  43. Valentine M, Schuberth K, Kagey Sobotka A, Graft D, Kwiterovich K, Szklo M, et al. The value of immunotherapy with venom in children with allergy to insect stings. N Engl J Med. 1990;323:1601-3 pubmed
  44. Kwon Y, Lee H, Han H, Mar W, Kang S, Yoon O, et al. The water-soluble fraction of bee venom produces antinociceptive and anti-inflammatory effects on rheumatoid arthritis in rats. Life Sci. 2002;71:191-204 pubmed
    ..However, further study is necessary to clarify which constituents of the BVA fraction are directly responsible for these anti-arthritis effects. ..
  45. Kwon Y, Ham T, Kim H, Roh D, Yoon S, Han H, et al. Water soluble fraction (<10 kDa) from bee venom reduces visceral pain behavior through spinal alpha 2-adrenergic activity in mice. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2005;80:181-7 pubmed
    ..These data demonstrate that BVAF3 is responsible for the visceral antinociception of whole BV and further suggest that this effect is mediated in part by spinal alpha2-adrenergic activity. ..
  46. Nam S, Ko E, Park S, Ko S, Jun C, Shin M, et al. Bee venom modulates murine Th1/Th2 lineage development. Int Immunopharmacol. 2005;5:1406-14 pubmed
    ..In addition, this result may be mediated by inducing a Th1-specific transcription factor, T-bet. ..
  47. Kwon Y, Yoon S, Kim H, Roh D, Kang S, Ryu Y, et al. Substantial role of locus coeruleus-noradrenergic activation and capsaicin-insensitive primary afferent fibers in bee venom's anti-inflammatory effect. Neurosci Res. 2006;55:197-203 pubmed
    ..v. idazoxan) completely blocked BVAI. Taken together, these results suggest that BVAI is mediated by peripheral activation of capsaicin-insensitive primary afferent fibers and subsequent central noradrenergic activation including the LC. ..
  48. Hoffman D, El Choufani S, Smith M, De Groot H. Occupational allergy to bumblebees: allergens of Bombus terrestris. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2001;108:855-60 pubmed
    ..Bumblebee venom phospholipase A(2) and protease are antigenically distinct from honeybee venom proteins. There are significant species group-specific epitopes on bumblebee venom proteins. ..
  49. Lee J, Kwon Y, Han H, Mar W, Lee H, Yang I, et al. Bee venom pretreatment has both an antinociceptive and anti-inflammatory effect on carrageenan-induced inflammation. J Vet Med Sci. 2001;63:251-9 pubmed
    ..These data also suggest that BV administration may be useful in the treatment of the pain and edema associated with chronic inflammatory diseases. ..
  50. Chen J, Li H, Luo C, Li Z, Zheng J. Involvement of peripheral NMDA and non-NMDA receptors in development of persistent firing of spinal wide-dynamic-range neurons induced by subcutaneous bee venom injection in the cat. Brain Res. 1999;844:98-105 pubmed
    ..c. bee venom injection. ..
  51. Chen J, Luo C, Li H, Chen H. Primary hyperalgesia to mechanical and heat stimuli following subcutaneous bee venom injection into the plantar surface of hindpaw in the conscious rat: a comparative study with the formalin test. Pain. 1999;83:67-76 pubmed
  52. Akdis C, Blesken T, Akdis M, Wuthrich B, Blaser K. Role of interleukin 10 in specific immunotherapy. J Clin Invest. 1998;102:98-106 pubmed
    ..Accordingly, increased IL-10 production by SIT causes specific anergy in peripheral T cells, and regulates specific IgE and IgG4 production toward normal IgG4-related immunity. ..
  53. Chen Y, Li K, Li Z, Shang G, Liu D, Lu Z, et al. Effects of bee venom peptidergic components on rat pain-related behaviors and inflammation. Neuroscience. 2006;138:631-40 pubmed
    ..Peripheral transient receptor potential vanilloid receptor 1 is likely to be involved in melittin-produced ongoing pain and heat hyperalgesia, but not mechanical hyperalgesia, in rats. ..