An introduction to the toxins special issue on 'Bee and Wasp Venoms: Biological characteristics and therapeutic application'

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Abstract

Venoms, especially bee venom, have been used since ancient times as a healing treatment for various disorders. The therapeutic value of honey bee venom to improve the quality of life of patients has been acknowledged for over a hundred years. Modern approaches of venomics have allowed for the discovery of venom constituents that have proven to be of pharmacological significance and have
opened the way to optimization of therapeutic strategies through the use of active components such as melittin and apamin. Subsequently, the application scope of honey bee venom has been expanding from conventional intinociceptive effect to degenerative diseases of the nervous system. This seems to be due to the properties of venom enzymes and peptides for their natural stability as injectable solutes, their effectiveness in reaching targeted tissues, and their ability to synergize their actions by enhancing cell–cell interactions. Expansion of the therapeutic application of bee and wasp venoms has advanced
particularly far in recent years, so this is an opportune time to present this Special Issue on bee and wasp venoms, their biological characteristics and therapeutic application.
The venoms of bees and wasps are complex mixtures of biologically active proteins and peptides, such as phospholipases, hyaluronidase, phosphatase, -glucosidase, serotonin, histamine, dopamine, noradrenaline, and adrenaline. However, melittin, apamin, and mast cell degranulating peptide are found only in bees, while mastoparan and bradykinin are exclusive to wasps. The recent review
article on bee and wasp venoms for their potential therapeutic and iotechnological applications. in biomedicine focuses on three major peptides, namely melittin, apamin, and mastoparan [1]. While mastoparan has been studied for its antimicrobial, anti-viral, and anti-tumor properties, melittin and apamin have a broad spectrum of therapeutic applications. To aid the reader in cross-referencing
these applications, I present here a listing of the bee venom components used for different disease types and the latest references (Table 1). Interestingly, learning enhancement in animals was benefited exclusively from apamin, probably due to its highly specific mode of action in the brain.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)315-320
Number of pages6
JournalToxins
Volume8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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