MATERIALS AND METHODS: Honey and some of its components, which include the sugars, the proteins, the hydrogen peroxide produced, and the phenolics, were exposed to cultured fibroblasts. The MTT colorimetric assay was used to assess cell viability and proliferation.
RESULTS: The stimulatory effect of honey on fibroblast proliferation was observed to be time- and dose-dependent. The continuous production of hydrogen peroxide by the honey-glucose oxidase system also acts to stimulate cell proliferation in a time- and dose-dependent manner. The presence of phenolics with antioxidant properties, on the other hand, renders protection to the cells against the toxic effect of hydrogen peroxide. However, the presence of a growth factor-like substance in honey could not be ascertained.
CONCLUSION: For the first time, honey and its major components were shown to exert stimulatory effects on cultured fibroblasts. Honey is therefore potentially useful in medicinal practices.