Apitoxin is a complex mixture of proteins, which cause a local inflammation and act as an anticoagulant. The toxin is produced in the abdomen of worker bees from a mixture of acid and basic secretions. It is injected via the stinger. A honeybee can inject 0.1 mg of toxin. Apitoxin is acidic (pH 4,5-5,5) and has a yellow color.
In medicine, it is used against rheumatism and joint diseases due to its anticoagulant properties. It is also used to de-sensitize people allergic to insect bites. Apitoxin can be deactivated with ethanol. It is estimated that 1% of the population is allergic to bee stings. Apitoxin is similar to snake poison and nettle toxin.
Components of Apitoxin
The main component Melittin (52%) is a one hundred times stronger anti-inflammatory agent than Cortisol. It also prevents cell destruction in case of a strong inflammation.
Apamin increases the cortisol production of the adrenal gland but is also a nerve toxin. Cortisol is a natural anti-inflammatory agent.
Adolapin (2-5%) is anti-inflammatory and analgesic because it blocks cyclooxygenase.
The most destructive part of Apitoxin is phospholipase A2 (10-12%). It is an enzyme which disolves phospholipids and therefore cell walls. It decreases blood pressureand blood coagulation. Phospholipase A2 activates arachidonic acid. Arachidonic acid is metabolized in the cyclooxygenase-cycle to prostaglandins. Prostaglandins regulate the bodies inflammation response. The toxin from wasps contains phospholipase A1 not A2.
Hyaluronidase (1-3%) opens the capillary and causes the spreading of the inflammation.
Histamine (0,5-2 %) is used in medicine against rheumatitis.
Dopamine und Noradrenaline (1-2%) increase the pulse. Protease-inhibitors (2%) are anti-inflammatory and stop bleeding.