Conversion by Peyer's Patch Lymphocytes of Human Enterocytes into M Cells that Transport Bacteria

Science  15 Aug 1997:
Vol. 277, Issue 5328, pp. 949-952
DOI: 10.1126/science.277.5328.949

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The epithelium that lines the gut is impermeable to macromolecules and microorganisms, except in Peyer's patches (PPs), where the lymphoid follicle-associated epithelium (FAE) contains M cells that transport antigens and microorganisms. A cultured system that reproduces the main characteristics of FAE and M cells was established by cultivation of PP lymphocytes with the differentiated human intestinal cell line Caco-2. Lymphocytes settled into the epithelial monolayer, inducing reorganization of the brush border and a temperature-dependent transport of particles and Vibrio cholerae. This model system could prove useful for intestinal physiology, vaccine research, and drug delivery studies.

  • * Present address: Department of Bacteriology and Mycology, Pasteur Institute, 28 rue du Dr Roux, 75724 Paris Cedex 15, France.

  • Present address: INSERM U445, 22 rue Méchain, 75014 Paris, France.

  • To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: epringau{at}

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