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Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine ›› 2012, Vol. 10 ›› Issue (12): 1443-1450.doi: 10.3736/jcim20121217

• Original Experimental Research • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Effects of propolis on lingual mucosa response of hamsters submitted to experimental carcinogenesis

Ricardo Lopes-Rocha1,Poliana Ribeiro Barroso2,Alexandre Soares Santos3,Nádia Lages Lima3,Fernanda Oliveira Ferreira3,Flaviana Dornela Verli3()   

  • Received:2012-06-06 Accepted:2012-07-13 Online:2012-12-20 Published:2018-12-15

Objective: To assess the tissue reaction of the lingual mucosa in hamsters submitted to daily, alternating, topical applications of 9,10-dimethyl-1,2-benzanthracene (DMBA) and a commercial brand of an ethanol propolis extract (EPE).
Methods: A total of 60 hamsters were divided into three groups with two experimental periods (13 and 20 weeks). The lateral edge of the tongue was submitted to daily, alternating, topical applications of 0.5% DMBA and 30% EPE (EPE group, n=20), 0.5% of DMBA and aqueous propolis extract (APE group, n=20) and 0.5% of DMBA and saline solution (DMBA group, n=20). The occurrence of clinical and histological alterations was analyzed, along with the measurement of the area and volume of the clinical alterations, the determination of structural and cytological alterations of the squamous epithelial tissue with atypias and the measurement of the histological area of squamous cell carcinomas.
Results: There were no significant differences among groups regarding any of the variables analyzed in the two evaluation periods. At week 13, a single squamous cell carcinoma occurred in the EPE group. At week 20, the greatest occurrence of squamous cell carcinoma was also in the EPE group.
Conclusion: The mechanism of EPE (30% alcohol content) affecting the onset of tissue reaction and the promotion of carcinogenesis has not been clarified yet.

Key words: propolis, carcinogenicity tests, 9,10-dimethyl-1,2-benzanthracene, chemoprevention, Mesocricetus

Figure 1

Mean body weight of different groups during the experimental periods EPE: ethanol propolis extract; APE: aqueous propolis extract; DMBA: 9,10-dimethyl-1,2-benzanthracene."

Figure 2

Clinical alterations in lingual mucosa of different groups A: White plaque (arrow) in aqueous propolis extract group at week 13; B: Exophytic lesion (arrow) in ethanol propolis extract group at week 13; C and D: Exophytic lesions (arrows) in ethanol propolis extract group at week 20."


Group n Hyperplasia and hyperkeratosis
with absence of atypias
Mild Moderate Severe
EPE 10 6 (60) 1 (10)* 0 (0) 2 (20) 1 (10)
APE 10 4 (40) 4 (40) 0 (0) 2 (20) 0 (0)
DMBA 10 6 (60) 0 (0)* 1 (10) 3 (30) 0 (0)

Figure 3

Histological alterations at week 13 tested by light microscopy A: Squamous epithelial tissue with hyperplasia (star) and hyperkeratosis (arrow) in DMBA group, with absence of structural and cytological alterations (HE, ×100); B: Mild squamous epithelial dysplasia in APE group (HE, ×200); C: Severe squamous epithelial dysplasia in EPE group, with keratin pearl (arrow) and premature cellular keratinization (HE, ×200); D: Severe squamous epithelial dysplasia in DMBA group, with premature cellular keratinization (stars) (HE, ×100).DMBA: 9,10-dimethyl-1,2-benzanthracene; APE: aqueous propolis extract; EPE: ethanol propolis extract; HE: hematoxylin and eosin."

Figure 4

Histological alterations at week 20 tested by light microscopy A: Well-differentiated squamous cell carcinomas in EPE group, exophytic growth (HE, ×40 and ×200); B: Moderately differentiated squamous cell carcinomas in APE group, endophytic growth involving nearly entire tongue (HE, ×40 and ×400).APE: aqueous propolis extract; EPE: ethanol propolis extract; HE: hematoxylin and eosin."

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