Venom for Parkinson’s

Dr. Weeks’ Comment: When I founded the American Apitherapy Society in 1986, one of the most exciting treatments was to help people with Parkinson’s. These people with their characteristic shuffle pace and pill-rolling fingers would experience a relaxation and demonstrated the ability to walk more normally (and step over test objects at their feet) after receiving bee venom therapy (BVT). Now, more than 3 decades later, other scientists and doctors agree. “…Experimental and clinical studies showed that BVT could be an effective adjuvant treatment for PD…”

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“…These data provide the first evidence for a beneficial action of bee venom on the pathological functioning of the cortico-basal ganglia circuits underlying motor PD symptoms with potential relevance to the symptomatic treatment of this disease...”

Bee venom for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease: How far is it possible?

Awad K1Abushouk AI2AbdelKarim AH1Mohammed M1Negida A3Shalash AS4.

med Pharmacother. 2017 Jul;91:295-302. doi: 10.1016/j.biopha.2017.04.065. Epub 2017 May 4.

Abstract

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is the second most common neurodegenerative disease, characterized by progressive loss of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra pars compacta leading to depletion of striatal dopamine and motor symptoms as bradykinesia, resting tremors, rigidity, and postural instability. Current therapeutic strategies for PD are mainly symptomatic and may cause motor complications, such as motor fluctuations and dyskinesia. Therefore, alternative medicine may offer an effective adjuvant treatment for PD.

Bee venom therapy (BVT) has long been used as a traditional therapy for several conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, and skin diseases. Experimental and clinical studies showed that BVT could be an effective adjuvant treatment for PD. Several mechanisms were suggested for these findings including the ability of BVT to attenuate neuroinflammation, inhibit apoptosis of dopaminergic neurons, protect against glutamate-induced neurotoxicity, and restore normal dopamine levels in the nigrostriatal pathway. In this article, we reviewed and summarized the literature regarding the potential of BVT for the treatment of PD.

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PLoS One. 2015 Nov 16;10(11):e0142838. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0142838. eCollection 2015.

Bee Venom Alleviates Motor Deficits and Modulates the Transfer of Cortical Information through the Basal Ganglia in Rat Models of Parkinson’s Disease.

Maurice N1Deltheil T2Melon C1Degos B3,4Mourre C2Amalric M2Kerkerian-Le Goff L1.

Abstract

Recent evidence points to a neuroprotective action of bee venom on nigral dopamine neurons in animal models of Parkinson’s disease (PD). Here we examined whether bee venom also displays a symptomatic action by acting on the pathological functioning of the basal ganglia in rat PD models. Bee venom effects were assessed by combining motor behavior analyses and in vivo electrophysiological recordings in the substantia nigra pars reticulata (SNr, basal ganglia output structure) in pharmacological (neuroleptic treatment) and lesional (unilateral intranigral 6-hydroxydopamine injection) PD models. In the hemi-parkinsonian 6-hydroxydopamine lesion model, subchronic bee venom treatment significantly alleviates contralateral forelimb akinesia and apomorphine-induced rotations. Moreover, a single injection of bee venom reverses haloperidol-induced catalepsy, a pharmacological model reminiscent of parkinsonian akinetic deficit. This effect is mimicked by apamin, a blocker of small conductance Ca2+-activated K+ (SK) channels, and blocked by CyPPA, a positive modulator of these channels, suggesting the involvement of SK channels in the bee venom antiparkinsonian action. In vivo electrophysiological recordings in the substantia nigra pars reticulata (basal ganglia output structure) showed no significant effect of BV on the mean neuronal discharge frequency or pathological bursting activity. In contrast, analyses of the neuronal responses evoked by motor cortex stimulation show that bee venom reverses the 6-OHDA- and neuroleptic-induced biases in the influence exerted by the direct inhibitory and indirect excitatory striatonigral circuits. These data provide the first evidence for a beneficial action of bee venom on the pathological functioning of the cortico-basal ganglia circuits underlying motor PD symptoms with potential relevance to the symptomatic treatment of this disease.

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Dr. Weeks’ Comment: When I founded the American Apitherapy Society in 1986, one of the most exciting treatments was to help people with Parkinson’s. These people with their characteristic shuffle pace and pill-rolling fingers would experience a relaxation and demonstrated the ability to walk more normally (and step over test objects at their feet) after…
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