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Uncaria tomentosa extract increases the number of myeloid progenitor cells in the bone marrow of mice infected with Listeria monocytogenes

In this study, we demonstrated that Uncaria tomentosa extract (UTE) protects mice from a lethal dose of Listeria monocytogenes when administered prophylactically at 50, 100, 150 and 200 mg/kg for 7 days, with survival rates up to 35%. These doses also prevented the myelosuppression and the splenomegaly caused by a sublethal infection with L. monocytogenes, due to increased numbers of granulocyte-macrophage progenitors (CFU-GM) in the bone marrow. Non-infected mice treated with 100 mg/kg UTE also presented higher numbers of CFU-GM in the bone marrow than the controls. Investigation of the production of colony-stimulating factors revealed increased colony-stimulating activity (CSA) in the serum of normal and infected mice pre-treated with UTE. Moreover, stimulation of myelopoiesis and CSA occurred in a dose-dependent manner, a plateaux being reached with the dose of 100 mg/kg. Further studies to investigate the levels of factors such as IL-1 and IL-6 were undertaken. We observed increases in the levels of IL-1 and IL-6 in mice infected with L. monocytogenes and treated with 100 mg/kg of UTE. White blood cells (WBC) and differential counting were also performed, and our results demonstrated no
significant changes in these data, when infected mice were pre-treated with 100 mg/kg of UTE. All together, our results suggest that UTE indirectly modulates immune activity and probably disengages Listeria-induced supression of these responses by inducing a higher reserve of myeloid progenitors in the bone marrow in consequence of biologically active cytokine release (CSFs, IL-1 and IL-6).