Moringa may be immunologically useful in the treatment of malaria and malnutrition. - GreenMedInfo Summary
Moringa oleifera treatment increases Tbet expression in CD4T cells and remediates immune defects of malnutrition in Plasmodium chabaudi-infected mice.
Malar J. 2020 Feb 7 ;19(1):62. Epub 2020 Feb 7. PMID: 32033605
BACKGROUND: Malaria is a worldwide problem that affects millions of people yearly. In rural areas where anti-malarial drugs are not easily accessible, many people use herbal treatments, such as Moringa oleifera, to treat a variety of diseases and ailments including malaria. While Moringa is reported to possess potent and curative anti-malarial properties, previous studies have mostly been restricted to assessment of parasitaemia. In this study, the effect of Moringa on malaria immunity in a murine model was investigated.
METHODS: Using a high dose (60 mg/mouse) for a short time (7 days) or low dose Moringa (30 mg/mouse) for a longer time (3 weeks), cytokine production, and Tbet expression by effector CD4T cells (Teff) were determined. Mice were also treated with Moringa after infection (curatively) or before infection (prophylactically) to determine the effect of the plant extract on parasitaemia and immunity. Given that Moringa also possess many nutritional benefits, the contribution of Moringa on malnourished malaria infected mice was determined. Malnutrition was induced by limiting access to food to only 4 h a day for 4 weeks, while control mice had unlimited access to mouse laboratory chow. All data was collected by flow cytometry and analysed using one-Way ANOVA or two tailed Student's t test.
RESULTS: Moringa-treated mice had increased numbers of effector CD4T cells accompanied by an increase in Tbet expression compared to control untreated mice. Mice that were treated with Moringa curatively also exhibited increased effector CD4T cell numbers, IFN-gamma and TNF secretion. Interestingly, the mice that were treated prophylactically had significantly higher Tbet expression. In the absence of adaptive immunity, high parasitaemia was observed in the RAG1 knockout mice. The food limited mice (malnourished) had reduced numbers of CD4T cells, TNF proportions, and significantly greater Tbet expression compared to the control group. Supplementation with Moringa in the limited group slightly restored CD4T cell activation, IL-2, and IL-10 production.
CONCLUSIONS: Taken together, these data suggest that Moringa treatment leads to increased CD4T cell activation, Th1 differentiation and production of pro-inflammatory cytokines after malaria infection. Thus, Moringa may be immunologically useful in the treatment of malaria and malnutrition. Further investigations are required to identify the active components in Moringa.