Did you know that propolis can be used as a radioprotector?

A team of experts from the UPV and the Hospital de la Fe in Valencia carried out a study on the radioprotective effect of propolis against ionizing radiation.

Propolis is a natural substance collected from the buds and bark of trees by bees to build their hives. It is of extraordinary interest to medicine and the pharmaceutical industry, and various beneficial health effects are attributed to it. Among the many properties of EEP (ethanolic extract of propolis) its antioxidant power stands out.

The collaboration between researchers and doctors from the UPV and La Fe in this field dates back to 2001. Among the main milestones, it should be noted that this multidisciplinary group of Valencian researchers was the first to analyze the radioprotective effect of propolis using cell cultures human. From their work, they concluded that the range of concentrations where the radioprotective effect of propolis was observed is from 120 mg/mL to 2000 mg/mL (the highest concentration used). It is in this range where the application of propolis can lead to a 50% reduction in damage to chromosomes.

For their work, the researchers obtained an ethanolic extract of propolis (EEP) and irradiated peripheral blood samples under different conditions, at different radiation doses in the absence and presence of EEP, and at the same radiation dose, in the presence of EEP at different concentrations. . For the evaluation, the chromosomal alterations present in lymphocytes in first mitotic division were analyzed using cytogenetic techniques.


"The results obtained show a decrease in the number of total alterations both when we irradiate at one dose and at different concentrations of propolis, obtaining up to 50% protection against radiation-induced damage," said Alegría Montoro, a La Fe researcher who did her thesis. two years ago at the UPV, co-directed by the professor of the Polytechnic, Gumersindo Verdú.

Until now, studies have focused on finding out the ranges in which the application of propolis has a radioprotective effect (it protects from ionizing radiation and at the same time is not toxic). Now, the work of the Valencian researchers is focused on finding out in what range of concentrations propolis can have a toxic effect on non-irradiated cells.

To do this, they are using a series of genetic biomarkers related to cell division, such as the mitotic index, the cell proliferation index and sister chromatid exchange (SCE).

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