Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a chronic disorder of the gastrointestinal tract characterized by inflammation. Although IBD is usually treated with anti-inflammatory agents, most of these treatments have limited efficacy. Propolis is a viscous mixture that honeybees produce by mixing saliva and honeycomb with exudate gathered from tree buds, sap flows, or other botanical sources. Although propolis has proved to ameliorate several inflammatory disorders, its therapeutic properties vary by geographical location, plant resources, bee species, and the solvents used in the extraction. In this study, we investigated the effects of Korean propolis in BALB/c mice with dextran sulfate sodium (DSS)-induced colitis. Korean propolis extract was diluted in drinking water, and the BALB/c mice were given DSS for 7 days and Korean propolis for 17 days. The mice were sacrificed on day 17. In the DSS-induced colitis model, Korean propolis significantly decreased the severity of colitis, as assessed by body weight, spleen weight, and colonic length. Furthermore, Korean propolis induced the reduction of the inflammatory cytokine KC, infiltration of immune cells, and colonic hyperplasia in mice with DSS-induced colitis. The Korean propolis also decreased the loss of goblet cells and antibody-reactivity to inflammatory markers in the colons of mice administered DSS. These results demonstrate for the first time that Korean propolis has an ameliorative effect on DSS-induced colonic inflammation in BALB/c mice.
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