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).