The purpose of this study is to elucidate the molecular mechanism of anti-inflammatory effect of bee venom (BV), which has been used for the treatment of various inflammatory diseases in oriental medicine. With this aim, we examined the effects of BV on the nitric oxide (NO) production by lipopolysaccharide (LPS) or sodium nitroprusside in RAW264.7 macrophages. We further investigated the effects of BV on the expression of inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS), cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-kappaB) and mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) with RT-PCR in LPS-stimulated RAW264.7 cells. BV suppressed the NO production and decreased the levels of iNOS, COX-2, NF-kappaB and MAPK mRNA in a dose-dependent manner. These results suggest that BV has an anti-inflammatory effect by inhibiting iNOS and COX-2 expression, possibly through suppression of NF-kappaB and MAPK expression.