M cells and granular mononuclear cells in Peyer's patch domes of mice depleted of their lymphocytes by total lymphoid irradiation

Am J Pathol. 1989 Mar;134(3):529-37.


The cytoarchitecture of Peyer's patches that were depleted of their lymphocytes by total lymphoid irradiation (TLI) was examined with particular attention to the effects on M cells in the follicle epithelium and on mononuclear cells in follicle domes underlying the epithelium. Five-month-old, specific pathogen-free Balb/c mice were irradiated with 200-250 rad/day, five times a week to a total dose of 3400-4250, and their Peyer's patches were either fixed for electron microscopy or frozen for immunohistochemistry 1-4 days after completion of irradiation. Control mice were examined at the same time intervals. Follicle domes of TLI mice had approximately one fourth the epithelial surface area of domes of control mice. Within the epithelium, lymphoid cells were virtually depleted after TLI, and yet the epithelium contained M cells. In control mice, most M cells were accompanied by lymphoid cells in invaginations of the apical-lateral cell membrane. In TLI mice, most M cells did not have such apical-lateral invaginations and were columnar shaped. Other than lacking lymphocytes, these cells appeared to be mature M cells. Some M cells did have lymphoid cells or granular mononuclear cells below their basal membranes, adjacent to the basal lamina. Below the epithelium, the proportion of granular mononuclear cells was greatly increased following TLI. The retention of M cells and the increase in proportion of granular mononuclear cells in follicle domes are consistent with selective depletion of lymphocytes following TLI. Persistence of M cells without lymphocytic invaginations after TLI suggests that M cells can differentiate in the absence of, or at least in the presence of very few, lymphocytes, and that invagination by lymphocytes is not necessary to maintain mature M cell morphology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Epithelium / pathology
  • Granulocytes / pathology*
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / pathology*
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / ultrastructure
  • Lymphocytes / pathology*
  • Lymphocytes / radiation effects
  • Lymphoid Tissue / radiation effects
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Peyer's Patches / pathology*
  • Peyer's Patches / ultrastructure