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J Immunol. 2011 Nov 15;187(10):5141-9. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.1101871. Epub 2011 Oct 19.

Antibody repertoire development in fetal and neonatal piglets. XX. B cell lymphogenesis is absent in the ileal Peyer's patches, their repertoire development is antigen dependent, and they are not required for B cell maintenance.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52242, USA.


The continuous ileal Peyer's patches (IPP) of sheep are regarded as a type of mammalian bursal equivalent where B cells diversify their repertoire in an Ag-independent fashion. Anatomically and developmentally similar IPP occur in swine. Resection of ∼90% of the IPP in piglets at birth did not alter Ig levels in serum and secretions or retard diversification of the Ab repertoire when animals were maintained in isolators and colonized with a defined gut flora. Resection or sham surgery elevated IgG and IgA in serum and in lavage fluid from the gut, lung, and in saliva. No changes in the frequency of IgG-, IgA-, and IgM-containing cells in the spleen and peripheral lymph node were observed. Using an index that quantifies diversification of the VDJ repertoire, no differences were seen in three secondary lymphoid tissues between piglets lacking IPP and colonized controls, whereas both groups displayed >10-fold greater diversification than did late-term fetal piglets or piglets maintained germ-free. Somatic hypermutation was very low in fetal IPP and the IPP of germ-free piglets but increased 3- to 5-fold after colonization. D-J signal joint circles were not recovered in IPP, and V-DJ signal joint circles were 5-fold lower than in bone marrow and similar to those in thymus and spleen. We conclude that the porcine IPP are not a site of B cell lymphogenesis, do not undergo Ag-independent repertoire diversification, and are not primary lymphoid tissue since they are not required for maintenance of Ig levels in serum and secretions.

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