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Gut Microbes. 2010 Nov-Dec;1(6):367-72. doi: 10.4161/gmic.1.6.14390.

Morphology of segmented filamentous bacteria and their patterns of contact with the follicle-associated epithelium of the mouse terminal ileum: implications for the relationship with the immune system.

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School of Gastroenterology, Department of Experimental and Clinical Medicine, University of Ferrara, Ferrara, Italy.


Recent evidence indicates that segmented filamentous bacteria (SFB), "Candidatus Arthromitus", play a unique role in different aspects of the maturation of the immune system, including T cell responses. Thus, it seems particularly relevant in this moment to shortly review the information on these bacteria and their relationship with the immune system, and to actively investigate their morphological aspects. We distinguished a developmental form from a vegetative form of these organisms. These different forms have distinct roles in the life cycle: the developmental form permits a rapid growth of the organisms while the vegetative form permits the attachment of SFB to the follicular epithelium. We have also given special attention to the modes of contact between SFB and the epithelial cells of the terminal ileum to better understand the unique relationship between these bacteria and the immune system.


follicular epithelium; immune system; segmented filamentous bacteria; terminal ileum; transmission electron microscopy

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