Background: M (microfold or membranous) cells are specialised epithelial cells responsible for antigen sampling at the interface of mucosal surfaces and the environment. Their high transcytotic ability make M cells an attractive target for mucosally delivered vaccines and therapeutics.
Objective: This brief review discusses the current state of M cell-targeted mucosal delivery systems and the potential of such delivery systems for the development of new vaccines and therapeutics against mucosal infectious and inflammatory diseases.
Scope: A variety of synthetic microparticles/nanoparticles have been developed and tested as vehicles for M cell-targeted mucosal drug and vaccine delivery. beta1 integrins, pathogen recognition receptors, specific carbohydrate residues and other M cell surface antigens have been exploited as potential targets for the delivery of mucosal vaccines and therapeutics.
Conclusion: Despite a considerable body of literature, much work still needs to be done before an effective M cell-targeted vaccine or therapeutic is developed.