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Mycobacterium vaccae
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Bacteria
Phylum: Actinobacteria
Order: Actinomycetales
Suborder: Corynebacterineae
Family: Mycobacteriaceae
Genus: Mycobacterium
Species: M. vaccae
Binomial name
Mycobacterium vaccae

Mycobacterium vaccae is a non-pathogenic[1] species of the Mycobacteriaceae family of bacteria that lives naturally in soil. Its name is derived from the Latin word, vacca (cow) as the first described strain was isolated from cow dung in Austria.[2] Research areas being pursued with regard to killed Mycobacterium vaccae vaccine include immunotherapy for allergic asthma, cancer, depression, psoriasis, dermatitis, eczema and tuberculosis.

Scientists believe that exposure to Mycobacterium vaccae may work as an antidepressant because it stimulates the generation of serotonin and norepinephrine in the brain.[3][4]

M. vaccae is related to the tuberculosis bacterium. Early trials indicated that exposure to M. vaccae would relieve tuberculosis symptoms. However, a 2002 review found no benefit from immunotherapy with M. vaccae in people with tuberculosis.[5]


The first described strain of M. vaccae was isolated from cow dung.
  1. ^ "Identification of an immune-responsive mesolimboco...[Neuroscience. 2007 - PubMed Result"]. Retrieved 2008-03-18.  
  2. ^ "Extremely drug resistant tuberculosis – is there hope for a cure?". TB Alert - the UK's National Tuberculosis Charity. Retrieved 2007-04-02.  
  3. ^ "Getting Dirty May Lift Your Mood", Medical News Today, April 5 2007. Brisotol University.
  4. ^ "Dirt exposure 'boosts happiness", BBC News.
  5. ^ de Bruyn G, Garner P (2002-10-06). "Mycobacterium vaccae immunotherapy for treating tuberculosis". The Cochrane Collaboration; Cochrane Reviews. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD001166. Retrieved 2007-04-01.  

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