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Background: Neuroinflammation plays a major role in the pathogenesis of autism because the cytokine levels are typically disturbed in the brain in autistic patients. Prebiotics-rich diet maintains the healthy gut microbiota and hence can regulate the neuroinflammation indirectly. The study aimed to investigate the role of bee pollen and propolis in ameliorating neuroinflammation, including cytokine levels, in an animal model of autism. Methods: Hamsters were classified as four groups: Group I, control; Group II, autistic model/animals treated with 250 mg propionic acid (PPA)/kg body weight (BW)/day for 3 days; Group III, animals treated with bee pollen at a dose of 250 mg/kg BW/day for 4 weeks; and Group IV, animals treated with propolis at a dose of 250 mg/kg BW/day for 4 weeks. Neuroinflammatory responses were evaluated using the levels of interferon γ(IFN-γ), interleukin 1 alpha (IL-1α), IL-6, IL-10, IL-12 (p70), vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), and tumor necrosis factor α (TNFα). Results: Significant decrease of IL-10 (P<0.026), VEGF (P<0.005), and TNFα(P<0.005) levels and increased IL-1α (P<0.032), IL-6(P<0.028), and IFN-γ(P<0.013) levels were observed between the four studied groups. The neurotoxic effects of PPA was clearly presented as much higher IL-6, as pro-inflammatory cytokine (P<0.05), concomitant with much lower IL-10, as anti-inflammatory cytokine(P<0.015) compared to controls. Both bee pollen and propolis were effective in ameliorating the neurotoxic effects of PPA demonstrating non-significant changes of IL-6 and IL-10 when compared to control healthy hamsters. Conclusions: Our findings indicate that both bee pollen and propolis protect against neuroinflammation in the rodent model of autism. However, further studies are needed to investigate the clinical benefits of prebiotics-rich diet in neurodevelopmental disorders, such as autism.
Aabed, K., Bhat, R. S., Al-Dbass, A., Moubayed, N., Algahtani, N., Merghani, N. M., … El-Ansary, A. (2019). Bee pollen and propolis improve neuroinflammation and dysbiosis induced by propionic acid, a short chain fatty acid in a rodent model of autism. Lipids in Health and Disease, 18(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12944-019-1150-0