Open Access

Potentiation of Bleomycin Lethality in HeLa and V79 Cells by Bee Venom

   | Sep 29, 2009


This study investigated possible growth-inhibiting effects of bee venom applied alone or in combination with a cytotoxic drug bleomycin on HeLa and V79 cells in vitro based on clone formation, cell counting, and apoptosis. Melittin, the key component of bee venom, is a potent inhibitor of calmodulin activity, and also a potent inhibitor cell growth and clonogenicity. Intracellular accumulation of melittin correlates with the cytotoxicity of antitumour agents. Previous studies indicated that some calcium antagonists and calmodulin inhibitors enhanced intracellular levels of antitumor agents by inhibiting their outward transport. In this study, treatment of exponentially growing HeLa and V79 cells with bleomycin caused a dose-dependent decrease in cell survival due to DNA damage. This lethal effect was potentiated by adding a non-lethal dose of the bee venom. By preventing repair of damaged DNA, bee venom inhibited recovery from potentially lethal damage induced by bleomycin in V79 and HeLa cells. Apoptosis, necrosis, and lysis were presumed as possible mechanisms by which bee venom inhibited growth and clonogenicity of V79 cells. HeLa cells, on the other hand, showed greater resistance to bee venom. Our findings suggest that bee venom might find a therapeutic use in enhancing cytotoxicity of antitumour agent bleomycin.

English, Slovenian
Publication timeframe:
4 times per year
Journal Subjects:
Medicine, Basic Medical Science, other