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Immunology. 1988 Jul;64(3):539-44.

Postnatal development and lymphocyte production of jejunal and ileal Peyer's patches in normal and gnotobiotic pigs.

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Centre of Anatomy, Medical School of Hannover, FRG.


The development of the number, size, structure and proliferative capacity of Peyer's patches (PP) in the jejunum and ileum has been studied during the early postnatal period of conventional and germ-free pigs. A mean of 15 discrete PP in the jejunum and upper ileum (jejPP) were counted at birth, and the number increased only gradually. A continuous PP is located in the terminal ileum (ileal PP). The length of both jejPP and ileal PP increased with age due to the increase in follicle size and in the number of follicles in the ileal PP. In older pigs, only the ileal PP regressed to small scattered follicles. In germ-free piglets at 39 and 59 days of age, longer PP were found than in normal new-born piglets, but they were significantly shorter than in age-matched controls. Lymphocyte production was studied by the metaphase-arrest technique using vincristine. Lymphocyte production in follicles increased dramatically with age, while in other compartments, such as the inter-follicular and dome area, a low age-independent production of lymphocytes was found. There were no differences in lymphocytopoiesis between jejPP and ileal PP. The present data show major differences in the development, structure and function of PP in pigs in comparison to other species. These species-specific aspects are important for future studies on the immunological function of PP.

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