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Immunol Invest. 2009;38(8):780-96. doi: 10.3109/08820130903258800.

Differences in intraepithelial lymphocytes in the proximal, middle, distal parts of small intestine, cecum, and colon of mice.

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Division of Biomedical Food Research, National Institute of Health Sciences, Tokyo, Japan.


We have previously reported the regional differences in the intraepithelial lymphocytes (IELs) present in the small intestine of mice. In this study, we further investigated these differences on the basis of our previous findings and studied the entire intestine, including the cecum and colon. Most of the significant differences in phenotypic compositions were found between the small and large intestines, although some differences were found among the different parts of the small and large intestines. In particular, the composition of the subsets in alphabeta T cells and gammadelta T cells clearly differed between the small and large intestines. For example, in alphabeta T cells, the percentages of double negative (DN) and CD8alphaalpha(+) cells were higher in the large intestine, that of CD8alphabeta(+) cells was higher in the small intestine, and those of CD4(+) and CD4(+) CD8alphaalpha(+) double positive (DP) cells were higher in the distal part of the small intestine. In gammadelta T cells, the percentage of CD8alphaalpha(+) cells was higher in the small intestine and that of DN cells was higher in the large intestine. These results indicate that the differences between IELs in the small and large intestines are discontinuous.

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