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Apitoxin or bee venom is the venom produced by the honey bee. It is a cytotoxic and hemotoxic bitter colorless liquid containing proteins, which may produce local inflammation. It may have similarities to sea nettle toxin.[1]


Bee venom is a complex mixture of proteins and smaller molecules.

The main component is melittin, which amounts to 52% of venom peptides[2] One of the main allergens is phospholipase A2, which amounts to 12% and is an enzyme that catalyzes the hydrolysis of phospholipids, causing degradation of cell membranes.[3] Adolapin[4] contributes 2–5% of the peptides.[5][6] Further protein components include apamin (2%), a neurotoxin, hyaluronidase (2%), which dilates blood vessels, increasing their permeability and facilitating the spread of the venom,[3] mast cell degranulating peptide (2%), tertiapin, and secapin.[7] Small molecules in bee venom include histamine (0.1–1%), dopamine and noradrenaline.[8]


Apitoxins are under preliminary research for their potential biological effects, such as in cancer.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Czarnetzki BM, Thiele T, Rosenbach T (February 1990). "Evidence for leukotrienes in animal venoms". The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. 85 (2): 505–509. doi:10.1016/0091-6749(90)90162-W. PMID 1968071. closed access
  2. ^ Meier J, White J (1995). Clinical toxicology of animal venoms and poisons. CRC Press, Inc. ISBN 0-8493-4489-1.
  3. ^ a b Burzyńska M, Piasecka-Kwiatkowska D (August 2021). "A Review of Honeybee Venom Allergens and Allergenicity". International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 22 (16): 8371. doi:10.3390/ijms22168371. PMC 8395074. PMID 34445077.
  4. ^ Aufschnaiter A, Kohler V, Khalifa S, Abd El-Wahed A, Du M, El-Seedi H, Büttner S (January 2020). "Apitoxin and Its Components against Cancer, Neurodegeneration and Rheumatoid Arthritis: Limitations and Possibilities". Toxins. 12 (2): 66. doi:10.3390/toxins12020066. PMC 7076873. PMID 31973181.
  5. ^ "Adolapin". Comparative Toxicogenomics Database, MDI Biological Laboratory and North Carolina State University. 24 August 2017. Retrieved 24 September 2017.
  6. ^ Benton AW, Morse RA, Stewart JD (October 1963). "Venom Collection from Honey Bees". Science. 142 (3589): 228–230. Bibcode:1963Sci...142..228B. doi:10.1126/science.142.3589.228. PMID 17834840. S2CID 26489746.
  7. ^ UniProt P01501, P01500, Q08169, P01499, P56587, P02852.
  8. ^ Habermann E (July 1972). "Bee and wasp venoms". Science. 177 (4046): 314–322. Bibcode:1972Sci...177..314H. doi:10.1126/science.177.4046.314. PMID 4113805.
  9. ^ Chaisakul J, Hodgson WC, Kuruppu S, Prasongsook N (2016). "Effects of Animal Venoms and Toxins on Hallmarks of Cancer". Journal of Cancer. 7 (11): 1571–1578. doi:10.7150/jca.15309. PMC 4964142. PMID 27471574.

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