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Anat Rec. 1986 Dec;216(4):521-7.

Morphometric and cytochemical analysis of lysosomes in rat Peyer's patch follicle epithelium: their reduction in volume fraction and acid phosphatase content in M cells compared to adjacent enterocytes.


M cells are specialized epithelial cells over lymphoid follicles in Peyer's patches which take up viruses, bacteria, and antigenic macromolecules from the intestinal lumen. Unlike ordinary enterocytes which sequester pinocytosed material in lysosomes, M cells transport such material across the epithelium to antigen-processing areas in lymphoid follicle domes, suggesting a difference in lysosomal activity or a different route for movement of endocytic vesicles. Ileal Peyer's patches in rats were examined by electron microscopy to identify lysosomes by acid phosphatase activity. Acid phosphatase was found in dense bodies in enterocytes but not in M cells. Stereological analysis showed the volume fraction occupied by dense bodies in M cells to be 16 times less than in enterocytes (P less than .0005), even though the volume fractions of cytoplasm occupied by mitochondria in M cells and enterocytes were not significantly different. The small volume fraction of dense bodies and the absence of acid phosphatase activity in M cells thus correlate with absence of lysosomal degradation of luminal microorganisms during transport into lymphoid follicles by M cells and may provide not only a complete array of microbial antigens for initiation of immune responses, but also a route through the mucosal barrier for microorganisms which can evade local containment mechanisms.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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