Chapter 5

Medicinal Plants as Immune Response Enhancers to Prevent Infectious Diseases of Veterinary Interest

Laura Noelia Cariddi, Ivana Dalila Montironi and Elina Beatriz Reinoso

Abstract

Mastitis is considered worldwide as the disease of cattle that causes severe economic losses in dairy industry worldwide and is usually associated with the presence of infectious agents as bacteria. Bacterial pathogens have been classified in contagious, environmental and opportunistic pathogens. Antibiotic therapy is one of the routine treatments for mastitis. However, antibiotics are moderately effective and their indiscriminate use leads to resistant strains. In addition, residues remain in milk with implications for human health.

Therefore, one of the objectives of the dairy industry is to reduce the use of antibiotics in animals food producing. The mammary gland has defense mechanisms against invading pathogens.

The incidence of mastitis increases when these mechanisms are impaired. Polymorphonuclear neutrophils (PMN), macrophages and lymphocytes play a very important role in the defense against mastitis. These cells regulate both the innate and adaptive response. Alternative therapies are conducted in order to both reinforce the antimicrobial therapy and to increase the natural defenses of the mammary gland. The application of immunomodulatory compounds to stimulate the immune response of the mammary gland is one of the most innovative alternative strategies studied today.

In this context, immunomodulators compounds derived from medicinal plants appear as an effective alternative therapy. Several studies have reported that ginseng saponins or ginsenosides of Panax ginseng, extracts of Tinospora cordifolia or Taraxacum mongolicum, flavonoids of Rosa agrestis among others, have stimulatory effects on immune response of the mammary gland with potential use in the treatment of bovine mastitis. Strategies to enhance the immune response of the udder will heavily impact the animals’ ability to resist pathogen infection.

Total Pages: 132-149 (18)

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