Neurohormonal Properties of Royal Jelly

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ROYAL jelly has significance in polymorphic development of bees. Bee larvæ fed on an overabundance of royal jelly develop into queens ; those given food differing quantitatively and qualitatively become worker bees1. Royal jelly has other interesting properties, for evidence is available of its therapeutic value in transplantable mouse leukæmia2 and of the presence of an antibiotic3. These effects might be termed anti-growth properties. It is remarkable that royal jelly is stated to contain acetylcholine4 in an amount calculated to be about six times that found in the brain of insects5. Nothing is known about the origin of acetylcholine in royal jelly or indeed whether this substance, obtainable from bees other than those used by Henschler4, contains acetylcholine. The occurrence of a neurohormone in royal jelly is of considerable interest for it suggests that acetylcholine may have a function different from that associated with nervous transmission.

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  1. 1

    Ribbands, R., “The Behaviour and Social Life of Honey Bees” (Dover Publications, Inc., New York, 1953).

  2. 2

    Townsend, G. F., Morgan, J. F., and Hazlett, B., Nature, 183, 1270 (1959).

  3. 3

    Blum, M. S., Novak, A. F., and Taber, S., Science, 130, 452 (1959).

  4. 4

    Henschler, D., Hoppe-Seylers Z. physiol. Chemie, 305, 34 (1956).

  5. 5

    Colhoun, E. H., J. Ins. Physiol., 2, 108 (1958).

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    Smallman, B. N., J. Physiol., 132, 343 (1956).

  7. 7

    Goldschmidt, S., and Burkert, H., Hoppe-Seylers Z. physiol. Chemie, 301, 78 (1955).

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COLHOUN, E., SMITH, M. Neurohormonal Properties of Royal Jelly. Nature 188, 854–855 (1960) doi:10.1038/188854a0

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