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Immunomodulatory effects of honey cannot be distinguished from endotoxin.

Abstract

In recent years, the use of honey has re-emerged as a remedy for wound treatment. Effects of honey have been related to the presence of an unidentified component that induces release of inflammatory cytokines from monocytic cells. The present study was intended to further characterize the reported in vitro effects of honey. Our results show that natural honeys induce interleukin-6 release from Mono Mac 6 cells as well as release of reactive oxygen species from all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA) differentiated HL-60 cells. The natural honeys contained substantial amounts of endotoxin, and the responses observed in the cell based assays were similar to the responses induced by endotoxin alone. In addition, we determined that the immunomodulatory component present in the natural honeys was retained in the ultra filtrated fraction with a molecular weight greater than 20 kDa. The component was resistant to boiling and its immunomodulatory activity could be abrogated by the addition of polymyxin B. We speculate that the observed in vitro immunomodulatory effects of honey might solely be explained by the endotoxin content in the natural honeys.

Authors: Timm M, Bartelt S, Hansen EW.
Journal: Cytokine. 42(1):113-20
Year: 2008
PubMed: Find in PubMed