The differential localization of IgA, IgM and IgG in the gut of suckled neonatal piglets

Vet Immunol Immunopathol. 1981 Feb;2(1):53-65. doi: 10.1016/0165-2427(81)90038-6.


The localization of immunoglobulin IgG, IgM and IgA in tissue sections prepared from the ileum of neonatal and adult swine were compared. Eighty percent of the immunoglobulin-containing lymphoid cells in the lamina propria of conventional adult German Landrasse swine were IgA-positive with lower numbers of IgM cells and occasionally an IgG cell. Anti-mu and alpha-chain reagents also stained the cytoplasm of the crypt epithelial cells. By comparison to these adult control tissues, the ileum of unsuckled neonates contained no immunoglobulins although after the ingestion of colostrum, the entire cytoplasm of the villus epithelial cells stained intensely when tested for IgG with only faint staining for IgM and IgA. On the other hand, IgA and IgM were readily localized on what appears to be only the apical border of the crypt epithelial cells but in contrast to the adult, the cytoplasm of these cells was unlabelled. IgG was absent from the crypt region. We interprete these findings to indicate an important, selective role for the villus epithelium in the absorption into the neonatal circulation of colostral IgG and probably IgA and IgM, and a specialized role for the crypt epithelium in adsorbing colostral IgA and IgM; possibly by complexing with mucin-bound secretory component.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Aging*
  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn / metabolism*
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism
  • Cytoplasm / metabolism
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Histocytochemistry
  • Ileum / metabolism
  • Immunoglobulin A / metabolism*
  • Immunoglobulin G / metabolism*
  • Immunoglobulin M / metabolism*
  • Swine / metabolism
  • Tissue Distribution


  • Immunoglobulin A
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Immunoglobulin M