PP are first visible at approximately 15.5 wk gestation after which there is a rapid spurt in the development and maturation of lymphoid follicles so that at any given point of time new foci of PP development are continuously formed at a rapid rate. Addition of rows of follicles results in the formation of a PP. Immature PP of younger fetuses have a spongy structure in contrast with the compact lymphoid follicles of mature PP of older fetuses. Immunocytochemical studies reveal that there is a subtle gradation in the expression of lymphocyte surface markers with increasing fetal age. Expression of antigenic markers occurs in an ordered sequence viz. HLA - DR, CD19 (B cell population), CD9 (pre-B cells), CD3 T lymphocytes, CD4 helper / inducer lymphocytes, the CD8 suppressor / cytotoxic cells and lastly, the CD57 Natural Killer cells. The antigens are expressed first on lymphocytes of PP and thereafter in those of the appendix. Our findings clearly demonstrate that the approximately 5 wk fetal period from 17.5 wk to 22 wk represents a major growth phase in the development of surface markers of lymphocytes in the mucosal immune system of the gut.