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Res Microbiol. 1994 Sep;145(7):543-52.

Preferential interaction of Salmonella typhimurium with mouse Peyer's patch M cells.

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Gastrointestinal Drug Delivery Research Centre, University of Newcastle upon Tyne, Medical School, England.


We have used a mouse Peyer's patch gut loop model to investigate the role of the intestinal membranous epithelial (M) cells in the pathogenesis of Salmonella typhimurium. These specialized antigen sampling cells are located in the follicle-associated epithelium (FAE) overlying the isolated and aggregated lymphoid follicles in the small and large intestines. Our studies have demonstrated that S. typhimurium adheres more frequently to the Peyer's patch FAE cells than to the villous enterocytes and that, within the FAE, this bacterium preferentially interacts with the M cells. Quantitative light microscopic studies, using the lectin Ulex europaeus 1 (UEA1) to identify M cells, revealed that 34-fold more bacteria bound per unit area of M cells than per unit area of enterocyte. Within a 30-min incubation period, some M cells had clearly been invaded by the Salmonella. We therefore propose that M cells are a major route by which S. typhimurium penetrates the intestinal epithelial barrier. Bacterial adhesion to M cells occurred in a non-uniform pattern, suggesting the existence of M-cell subtypes. The interaction of S. typhimurium with mouse Peyer's patch M cells was accompanied by membrane ruffle formation and polymerized actin redistribution similar to that observed in cultured cell lines infected by this bacterium. This study emphasizes the suitability of Salmonella as an oral vaccine delivery system since, by preferentially interacting with the M cells, these bacteria are targeted to sites where cells of the immune system are concentrated.

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