Differentiation of a murine intestinal epithelial cell line (MIE) toward the M cell lineage

Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol. 2008 Aug;295(2):G273-84. doi: 10.1152/ajpgi.00378.2007. Epub 2008 Jun 12.


M cells are a kind of intestinal epithelial cell in the follicle-associated epithelium of Peyer's patches. These cells can transport antigens and microorganisms into underlying lymphoid tissues. Despite the important role of M cells in mucosal immune responses, the origin and mechanisms of differentiation as well as cell death of M cells remain unclear. To clarify the mechanism of M cell differentiation, we established a novel murine intestinal epithelial cell line (MIE) from the C57BL/6 mouse. MIE cells grow rapidly and have a cobblestone morphology, which is a typical feature of intestinal epithelial cells. Additionally, they express cytokeratin, villin, cell-cell junctional proteins, and alkaline phosphatase activity and can form microvilli. Their expression of Musashi-1 antigen indicates that they may be close to intestinal stem cells or transit-amplifying cells. MIE cells are able to differentiate into the M cell lineage following coculture with intestinal lymphocytes, but not with Peyer's patch lymphocytes (PPL). However, PPL costimulated with anti-CD3/CD28 MAbs caused MIE cells to display typical features of M cells, such as transcytosis activity, the disorganization of microvilli, and the expression of M cell markers. This transcytosis activity of MIE cells was not induced by T cells isolated from PPL costimulated with the same MAbs and was reduced by the depletion of the T cell population from PPL. A mixture of T cells treated with MAbs and B cells both from PPL led MIE cells to differentiate into M cells. We report here that MIE cells have the potential ability to differentiate into M cells and that this differentiation required activated T cells and B cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation / physiology*
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Lineage / physiology*
  • Coculture Techniques
  • Intestinal Mucosa / cytology*
  • Intestinal Mucosa / ultrastructure
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Microscopy, Phase-Contrast
  • Peyer's Patches / cytology
  • Specific Pathogen-Free Organisms