Date of Award

2014

Document Type

Thesis

First Advisor

Minor, Radiah C.

Abstract

In both humans and animals, stress causes the body to release adrenaline, cortisol and other stress hormones that cause changes within the body, which include modulation of the immune system. Stress in mammals can cause changes in the profile of immune cells circulating in the blood. Environmental and nutritional stressors can be considered two of the most common animal stressors. In the presence of stress there is an increase in the number of circulating neutrophils and a decrease in the number of lymphocytes within the blood. The physiological changes that occur in animals in response to acute and chronic stress have been shown to have a role in the etiology of many diseases and can lead to enhanced susceptibility to disease. The Moringa oleifera tree is a tree that is exceptionally rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that promote health and immunity. The objective of my study was to evaluate the effect of Moringa oleifera on stress induced mice and monitor any change on lymphocyte and neutrophil numbers. Using a mouse model, we compared stress induced changes in neutrophil and lymphocyte numbers within the blood of mice that drank Moringa Tea to mice that drank water for 5 days. One 1-hr acute stress and 1 12-hr chronic stress experiments were performed with 1 replication each. It was hypothesized that stressed mice that drank tea would have a higher lymphocyte and neutrophil count than those that drank just water. The data show that after the 12 hr chronic stress period, the lymphocyte count was significantly increased (t=4.128, p=0.0189) in the stressed Moringa tea group compared to the non-stressed tea group, the neutrophil count also significantly increased in the stressed Moringa tea group when compared to both water/stress (t=4.083, p=0.0126) and tea/ no stress groups (t= 4.263, p=0.0126). These data suggest that Moringa may have the potential to be used as a supplemental feed ingredient that when added to the food ration of livestock animals could help alleviate stress induced immune modulation.

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