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Curr Top Microbiol Immunol. 2012;354:39-52. doi: 10.1007/82_2011_134.

M cell-targeted mucosal vaccine strategies.

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Department of Oral Immunology, Nihon University School of Dentistry at Matsudo, Chiba 271-8587, Japan.


Immune responses in the aerodigestive tract are characterized by production and transport of specific IgA antibodies across the epithelium to act as a first line of defense against pathogens in the external environment. To sample antigens on mucosal surfaces in the intestine and upper respiratory tract, the immune system relies on a close collaboration between specialized antigen-sampling epithelial M cells and lymphoid cells. Depending on various factors, local antigen presentation in the mucosal tissue leads to tolerance or initiation of an active immune response. Recently, molecules that could be used to target vaccine antigens to apical M cell surfaces have been identified. Here we review the M cell-targeted vaccine strategy, an approach that could be used to enhance uptake and efficacy of vaccines delivered in the nasal cavity or intestine.

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