Date of Award

2013

Document Type

Thesis

First Advisor

Minor, Radiah C.

Abstract

Moringa oleifera Lam (MOL) is a tree, native to the tropics and sub-tropics of Asia and Africa. All parts are edible and because it is rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants it has many nutritional benefits. For example, many of the vitamins and minerals are known to modulate immunity, suggesting that MOL could be a good dietary supplement to boost immunity. Our lab is interested in identifying natural products that can be used to enhance immunity and health among animals. Therefore, the objective of this study was to investigate immune modulation by Moringa using a mouse model. Two trials were conducted to evaluate whether and how consumption of Moringa tea (MT) affects T and B-cell number and proliferation. In each trial, mice were divided into two groups: water (control group) or MT (experimental group). Each group was given fresh water or MT every day for 14 days (trial 1) or 21 days (trial 2). On the final days of the trials (14 and 21), mice were sacrificed and the total number of lymphocytes (T and B-cells) within the spleen and lymph nodes were measured by flow cytometry. In addition, proliferation in response to mitogen-induced activation was compared. Results show that mice consumed MT and water at similar rates during both trials and there were no significant differences in weight gain. There were no differences in the percentages of B-cells or T-cells (CD4+ or CD8+) in the spleen or lymph nodes. However lymphocytes isolated from the spleen of mice that consumed MT had decreased proliferation after stimulation with anti-CD3+ and anti-CD28+ (a specific T-cell activator) but not LPS (a specific B cell activator) as compared to mice that drank water. These data suggest that the tea prepared from the leaves of Moringa may have a modulating effect on the function of T-cells but not B-cells.

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