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Dig Dis Sci. 2000 Jul;45(7):1451-61.

Antigen uptake and trafficking in human intestinal epithelial cells.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology, Mount Sinai Medical Center, New York, New York 10029, USA.


Primary intestinal epithelial cells, human colonic adenocarcinoma cell lines (DLD-1, Caco-2, and HT-29), and monocytes were used as model systems to study antigen uptake, antigen-presenting cell properties, as well as the kinetics of antigen uptake in intestinal epithelial cells (IEC). Intracellular staining of fluoresceinated tetanus toxoid was not evident in the IEC until after 30 min of incubation at 37 degrees C, whereas in monocytes intracellular punctate staining of fluoresceinated tetanus toxoid was evident after 5 mins. In polarized Caco-2 cells antigen could be internalized at both the apical and basolateral surfaces with polarized transport. When analyzed by electron microscopy, gold-labeled tetanus toxoid was internalized and found within endosomes and multivesicular bodies, but not within the lysosomal compartments by 60 min. By 2 hrs, gold-labeled tetanus toxoid was evident in the secondary lysosomes. These results demonstrate that tetanus toxoid follows an endocytic pathway in intestinal epithelial cells and that the kinetics of antigen uptake is slower than that of conventional antigen-presenting cells.

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