(ORDO NEWS) — Researchers have found nanoparticles in honey that can activate a protein in the body that reduces inflammation. This protein has also been linked to a reduced risk of diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and other diseases.
Scientists have previously shown that honey can reduce inflammation by acting on the NLRP3 protein. Now biologists have established that extracellular vesicles perform this function in honey.
About 95% of honey is sugar, but it also contains a lot of other compounds. Our ancestors have used honey as an ointment for centuries to reduce inflammation in various parts of the body. Recently, researchers began to study the anti-inflammatory properties of this product and found that it can activate the NLRP3 protein in the human body, which is associated with a decrease in the inflammatory response.
In the new work, scientists have found particles in honey that activate this protein. They turned out to be the so-called extracellular vesicles. These tiny membrane-protected particles often carry proteins, ribonucleic acids, and other biomolecules from one cell to another. They were previously found in many foods.
The vesicles in honey contained 142 vegetable proteins and 82 compounds produced by honey bees. This means that these nanoparticles were originally created by a flower and then consumed and processed by bees. To test whether the vesicles themselves help fight inflammation, the scientists placed them next to white blood cells that produce the inflammation-inducing protein NLRP3, and then induce inflammation.
Vesicles significantly reduced the production and secretion of numerous proteins that cause inflammation, as well as the death of some cells associated with inflammation. When the researchers injected the vesicles into the mice, they found that the nanoparticles partially alleviated both inflammation and liver damage. The researchers also found microRNAs, which are the main anti-inflammatory agent of vesicles. Now scientists plan to test the findings made in mice in humans.
An article about the discovery was published in the Journal of Extracellular Vesicles.
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