Journal List > Korean J Nutr > v.42(5) > 1043774

Kang, Lee, Kim, Sung, Kwon, and Park: Changes in Lymphocyte DNA Damage and Antioxidant Status after Supplementing Propolis to Korean Smokers: A Placebo-Controlled, Double-Blind Cross-Over Trial


Smoking has been known to exacerbate the initiation and propagation of oxidative stresses. Efforts have been made to reduce the smoking-induced oxidative stresses using commercial dietary supplements. Propolis is the resinous substance collected by bees from the leaf buds and bark of trees, especially poplar and conifer trees. In this trial, we examined whether a daily supplementation of 800 mg propolis can protect endogenous lymphocytic DNA damage and modulate antioxidative enzyme activities and the level of antioxidant vitamin in smokers using a placebo-controlled, double-blinded cross-over trial. After two weeks of running-in period, 29 smokers (mean age 34.38 ± 1.73) received 6 tablets/day of either propolis or placebo pills for 4 weeks. After 2 weeks of washout period the subjects switched they pills for cross-over study. The degree of DNA damage (assessed by tail DNA, tail length and tail moment) was not significantly changed with propolis intake or placebo intake. Similarly, total antioxidant status (TAS) remained at the same level regardless of the treatment. Erythrocyte catalase, glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px), superoxide dismutase (SOD), plasma vitamin C and tocopherol level did not differ before and after propolis treatment, and did not differ between treatments. Putting all these results together, we would suggest that it is still too early to claim that propolis possess antioxidative activities.

Figures and Tables

Fig. 1
Flow chart phase of study.
Table 1
HPLC apparatus and conditions
Table 2
Anthropometric indices of the subjects

1) The baseline values are the mean of the 2 baseline measurements obtained at the beginning of the study and after the 2-week washout period

2) All values are the mean ± SE

3) NS: not significant between baseline, propolis & placebo group by one-way ANOVA and LSD post-hoc test at p > 0.05

Table 3
Smoking, drinking and exercise habits of the subjects

1) All values are means ± S.E.

2) Pack-years = (Cigarettes smoked/day×years smoked)/20

3) Total amount of alcohol ingested (g) per day

4) ≧ 30 minutes per day

Table 4
Nutrient intakes estimated from the 24-h dietary recalls in male smokers

1) Values are Mean ± S.E.

Table 5
Antioxidant vitamin levels in the plasma of male smokers before (baseline) and after 4 weeks of supplementation with propolis or placebo capsule1)

1) Values are Mean ± S.E.

2) NS: not significant between baseline, propolis & placebo group by one-way ANOVA and Bonferroni post-hoc test at p > 0.05

Table 6
TRAP, TAS and MDA levels in the plasma of male smokers before (baseline) and after 4 weeks of supplementation with propolis or placebo capsule

1) Values are Mean ± S.E.

2) NS: not significant between baseline, propolis & placebo group by one-way ANOVA and Bonferroni post-hoc test at p > 0.05

Table 7
Antioxidant enzyme activities in the erythrocyte of male smokers before (baseline) and after 4 weeks of supplementation with propolis or placebo capsule

1) Values are Mean ± S.E. NS: not significant (p > 0.05)

2) NS: not significant between baseline, propolis & placebo group by one-way ANOVA and Bonferroni post-hoc test at p > 0.05

3) Values within each row not sharing a common superscript letter are statistically different at p < 0.05 (one-way ANOVA and the Bonferroni post-hoc test)

Table 8
DNA damages in the lymphocyte of male smokers before (baseline) and after 4 weeks of supplementation with propolis or placebo capsule

1) Values are Mean ± S.E.

2) NS: not significant between baseline, propolis & placebo group by one-way ANOVA and Bonferroni post-hoc test at p > 0.05


This work was supported by grants from 2004 KFDA 'Reevaluation of Functionality for Antioxidant Health Foods Listed in Korean Food Codex' and the grants from Hannam University in 2009.


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Mi-Kyung Sung

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