The function of Peyer's patches as antigenic sampling sites involves the complex interplay of a variety of mechanisms that aim to recognize luminal antigens, induce an immunological response and decrease the incidence of antigen translocation across the mucosal epithelium. This is achieved by M cells, which facilitate the uptake of luminal antigens, a vascular architecture that promotes the retention of absorbed antigens within the patch interstitium (allowing for maximal antigenic activation of lymphocytes) and the presence of lymphoid follicles that contain antigen-presenting cells and lymphocytes. Lymphocytes encountering antigen in the Peyer's patches proliferate, differentiate into fully mature antigen-specific effector cells and migrate of the mesenteric lymph nodes where they undergo final maturation. The mature lymphocytes then enter the systemic circulation and migrate throughout the other mucosa-associated lymphoid tissues of the body and 'home' into the gut via high endothelial venules and gut associated lymphoid tissue-specific adhesion molecules, providing antigen-specific lymphocytes at-sites likely to re-encounter the antigen.
|Number of pages||15|
|Journal||Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology|
|Publication status||Published - 1997|