Regional variations in the number and subsets of intraepithelial lymphocytes in the mouse small intestine

Comp Med. 2000 Feb;50(1):39-42.


Background and purpose: Regional variations in the intraepithelial lymphocytes (IELs) in the mouse small intestine were examined.

Methods: The small intestine was taken from six 12-week-old BALB/c mice and divided equally into three parts (proximal, middle, and distal). The IELs were isolated from each part of the intestine and analyzed by use of flow cytometry.

Results: The number of IELs in the distal part of the small intestine was significantly lower than that in the proximal and middle parts (P < 0.01). The distribution of IEL subsets was markedly different between the proximal and the distal parts, and that in the middle part had an intermediate pattern. The percentage of alphabetaT cells and expression of Thy-1.2 on the alphabetaT and gammadeltaT cells were higher in the distal part (P < 0.01). The percentage of CD8alphaalpha and of double-negative T cells were higher in the proximal part, whereas that of CD4CD8alphaalpha double-positive T cells was higher in the distal part (P < 0.01). Regional variations were found mainly in the extrathymically developed T cell subsets.

Conclusion: Local development of IELs may differ between regions of the small intestine.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Centrifugation, Density Gradient / veterinary
  • Flow Cytometry / veterinary
  • Intestinal Mucosa / chemistry
  • Intestinal Mucosa / immunology*
  • Intestine, Small / chemistry
  • Intestine, Small / immunology*
  • Lymphocyte Subsets / chemistry
  • Lymphocyte Subsets / immunology*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C / immunology*
  • Specific Pathogen-Free Organisms


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal