Comparative analysis of mononuclear cells isolated from mucosal lymphoid follicles of the human ileum and colon

Clin Exp Immunol. 2009 May;156(2):232-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2249.2009.03883.x. Epub 2009 Jan 22.


Studies of human mucosal lymphoid follicles are rare and have been limited to children's Peyer's patches, which are visible at endoscopy. We investigated lymphoid follicles in ileum biopsies of 87 patients and surgical colon specimens from 66 cancer patients, and examined phenotype and function of isolated follicular immune cells. Two (0-10) and 12 (0-117) follicles per patient were found in ileum and colon samples respectively (P < 0.001). The number of lymphoid follicles mononuclear cells (LFMC) that could be isolated per patient was higher from colon compared with ileum specimens [725 000 (0-23 Mio) versus 100 000 (0-1.3 Mio), P < 0.001]. T cells were predominant in both LFMC and lamina propria mononuclear cells (LPMC), but B cells were more and plasma cells less frequent in LFMC. T cells from mucosal follicles were more frequently CD4-positive and CD62L-positive, but less frequently CD8-positive, CD103-positive and CD69-positive than lamina propria T cells. LFMC from ileum compared with colon showed no differences in mononuclear cell composition. Anti-CD3/CD28 stimulation induced similar proliferation of LFMC and LPMC from ileum and colon, as well as secretion of high levels of interferon-gamma, tumour necrosis factor-alpha and interleukin (IL)-2, but lower levels of IL-4, IL-6 and IL-10. LFMC from colon secreted more IL-2 than those from ileum. Our study shows that mucosal lymphoid follicles can be identified clearly in adult human colon and yield viable immune cells sufficient for phenotypical and functional analysis. The cellular composition of LFMC from ileum and colon is similar, and both secrete predominantly T helper type 1 cytokines.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biomarkers / analysis
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Colon / immunology*
  • Cytokines / analysis
  • Female
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Humans
  • Ileum / immunology*
  • Intestinal Mucosa / immunology*
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / cytology*
  • Lymphoid Tissue / cytology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Th1 Cells / immunology
  • Young Adult


  • Biomarkers
  • Cytokines