Conditions & Treatment

Bee venom acupuncture therapy ameliorates neuroinflammatory alterations in a pilocarpine-induced epilepticus model.

Kristen Sparrow • July 07, 2021

San Francisco Sity Sights. Nob Hill

I’m drawn to these studies using Bee venom.  Somehow it makes sense to me that by using bee venom you enhance the effect of acupuncture by giving a toxin that we evolved with over the millenia.  There is anecdotal success using bee stings for autoimmune conditions, which, again, makes some sense to me, in that we are reintroducing an “old friend.”

Abd El-Hameed AM, Abuelsaad ASA, Khalil A. Bee venom acupuncture therapy ameliorates neuroinflammatory alterations in a pilocarpine-induced epilepticus model. Metab Brain Dis. 2021 Jun 17. doi: 10.1007/s11011-021-00766-9. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 34138441.


Bee venom (BV) is applied in different traditional medicinal therapies and is used worldwide to prevent and treat many acute and chronic diseases. Epilepsy has various neurological effects, e.g., epileptogenic insults; thus, it is considered a life-threatening condition. Seizures and their effects add to the burden of epilepsy because they can have health effects including residual disability and even premature mortality. The use of antiinflammatory drugs to treat epilepsy is controversial; therefore, the alternative nonchemical apitherapy benefits of BV were evaluated in the present study by assessing neuroinflammatory changes in a pilocarpine-induced epilepticus model. Levels of electrolytes, neurotransmitters, and mRNA expression for some gate channels were determined. Moreover, ELISA assays were conducted to detect pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines, whereas RT-PCR was performed to assess mRNA expression of Foxp3 and CTLA-4. BV ameliorated the interruption in electrolytes and ions through voltage- and ligand-gated ion channels, and it limited neuronal excitability via rapid repolarization of action potentials. In addition, BV inhibited the high expression of proinflammatory cytokines. Acupuncture with BV was effective in preventing some of the deleterious consequences of epileptogenesis associated with high levels of glutamate and DOPA in the hippocampus. BV ameliorates changes in the expression of voltage-gated channels, rebalances blood electrolytes and neurotransmitters, and modulates the levels of pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines. Thus, BV could reduce the progression of epileptogenesis as a cotherapy with other antiepileptic drugs.

Keywords: Bee venom – inflammation; Cytokines; Epilepsy; Neurotransmitters; Oxidative stress; Pilocarpine.