Editor: Willem van Leeuwen
M-cells: origin, morphology and role in mucosal immunity and microbial pathogenesis
Article first published online: 11 DEC 2007
FEMS Immunology & Medical Microbiology
Volume 52, Issue 1, pages 2–12, January 2008
How to Cite
Corr, S. C., Gahan, C. C.G.M. and Hill, C. (2008), M-cells: origin, morphology and role in mucosal immunity and microbial pathogenesis. FEMS Immunology & Medical Microbiology, 52: 2–12. doi: 10.1111/j.1574-695X.2007.00359.x
- Issue published online: 11 DEC 2007
- Article first published online: 11 DEC 2007
- Received 12 April 2007; revised 26 October 2007; accepted 30 October 2007.First published online 11 December 2007.
M-cells are specialized cells found in the follicle-associated epithelium of intestinal Peyer's patches of gut-associated lymphoid tissue and in isolated lymphoid follicles, appendix and in mucosal-associated lymphoid tissue sites outside the gastrointestinal tract. In the gastrointestinal tract, M-cells play an important role in transport of antigen from the lumen of the small intestine to mucosal lymphoid tissues, where processing and initiation of immune responses occur. Thus, M-cells act as gateways to the mucosal immune system and this function has been exploited by many invading pathogens. Understanding the mechanism by which M-cells sample antigen will inform the design of oral vaccines with improved efficacy in priming mucosal and systemic immune responses. In this review, the origin and morphology of M-cells, and their role in mucosal immunity and pathogenesis of infections are discussed.