Effects of Bee Venom Treatment on Growth Performance of Young Pigs

Sang Mi Han, Kwang Gill Lee, Joo Hong Yeo, Sung Jin Hwang, Chul Ho Jang, Peter Chenoweth, Sokcheon Pak

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9 Citations (Scopus)
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This study examined the effect of whole bee venom (BV) as a potential stimulant of the piglet immune system, on growth performance, blood parameters, plasma protein and immune globulin content of serum. Piglets (n=97) received combinations of 0.5, 1.0, 1.5, 2.0 and 2.5 mg/kg of parenterally administered BV on 4 occasions between birth and day 30. In the apipuncture group (n=31), piglets were acupunctured with the worker honeybee. Two acupoints, GV-1 (Jiao-chao) and GV-20 (Bai-hui), were selected for apipuncture. All piglets (n=128) in the treatment groups were treated 4 times throughout the study period of 60 days. The control piglets received no treatments. Blood was taken via jugular venipuncture on day 30 after birth. Body weight and survivability were measured, and changes in haematological values were analysed. Both the BV injection group and apipuncture group demonstrated 26.6 and 21.8%, and 7.9 and 6.7% increase compared with controls in body weight and survivability, respectively. The number of leukocytes, erythrocytes, lymphocytes and monocytes were not influenced by treatments. However, a potential clinical benefit of high dose therapy was seen in increased populations of leukocytes, lymphocytes and monocytes compared with either the apipuncture or control groups. Other blood parameters such as total protein and albumin were not affected by treatment. However, IgG levels were generally higher in treated groups than in controls. These findings indicate that BV might be useful to stimulate immuno-competence in pig production, possibly via the primary bioactive components of melittin, phospholipase A2 and apamin. The administration of BV, either via injection or acupuncture, did not make any differences to growth performance of young pigs. These results would be useful for further purification and characterization of immune boosting agents from BV.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)253-260
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Chinese Medicine
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2009


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