M Cell-Targeted Delivery of Vaccines and Therapeutics

Expert Opin Drug Deliv. 2008 Jun;5(6):693-702. doi: 10.1517/17425247.5.6.693.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / administration & dosage
  • Drug Delivery Systems*
  • Immunotherapy
  • Integrin beta1 / metabolism
  • Lectins / administration & dosage
  • Peyer's Patches / cytology*
  • Peyer's Patches / metabolism*
  • Vaccines / administration & dosage*


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Integrin beta1
  • Lectins
  • Vaccines