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Effect of subcutaneous injection of ginseng on cows with subclinical Staphylococcus aureus mastitis.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala.


Cows with subclinical mastitis caused by Staphylococcus aureus were subjected to subcutaneous injections with either an extract from the root of Panax ginseng CA Meyer at a dose of 8 mg/kg body weight per day for 6 days, or with saline as a control. The injection areas were checked for adverse reactions. The daily milk production was measured before and after treatment. Blood was collected for total and differential leucocyte counts, identification of lymphocyte subpopulations using flow cytometry, lymphocyte proliferation test, and neutrophil phagocytosis and oxidative burst assay. Quarter milk samples were collected for bacteriological analysis and somatic cell counts (SCC). After the end of treatment, the numbers of S. aureus-infected quarters and milk SCC tended to decrease in ginseng-treated cows. Phagocytosis and oxidative burst activity of blood neutrophils were significantly increased 1 week after ginseng treatment, but the proliferative response of blood lymphocytes did not change significantly. The number of monocytes in ginseng-injected cows was significantly higher 1 week post-treatment than pre-treatment, and the number of lymphocytes was significantly higher than pre-infusion at 2 and 3 weeks after ginseng treatment. Similar changes were not observed in the control group. The present findings indicate that ginseng treatment can activate the innate immunity of cows and may contribute to the cow's recovery from mastitis. It is therefore suggested that ginseng has a potential as a stimulator of the immune system of dairy cows.

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