Background: Eimeriosis is a parasitic intestinal infection that affects the poultry industry; it is responsible for economic losses on a global scale.
Objective: This study investigated the protective role of Morus nigra leaf extracts (ME) against Eimeria papillata infection in mice.
Methods: C57Bl/6 mice were divided into six groups. The first group was gavaged daily with 100 μL 0.9% NaCl. The second group was treated daily by oral gavage with 100 μL M. nigra leaf extracts (ME) (200 mg/kg), while the third, fourth, fifth, and sixth groups were orally infected with 1000 E. papillata oocysts. The last three groups were daily treated for 5 days with 200, 400, and 800 mg/kg of ME, respectively. Samples of jejunum were obtained for examining the histopathological changes as well as changes in the nitric oxide and catalase levels.
Results: Infrared spectroscopy of ME showed the presence of several expected active classes of phytochemical compounds. ME was able to reduce the E. papillata oocysts in mice feces by about 80% and decrease the infection-induced jejunal histopathological injuries. This was quantified using the histological injury score. In addition, ME significantly recovered the changes in nitric oxide and catalase levels.
Conclusion: Our findings showed that the M. nigra extract has an antioxidant activity which protects against murine eimeriosis. Further studies are required to determine the exact active compounds in ME and their mode of action.
Keywords: Morus nigra, mice, eimeriosis, nitric oxide, catalase, jejunum histology.