Differential surface characteristics of M cells from mouse intestinal Peyer's and caecal patches

Histochem J. 1994 Mar;26(3):271-80.


The mouse caecal patch is located near the blind end of the caecum, and consists of a group of lymphoid follicles. In common with the Peyer's patches, the follicle-associated epithelium overlying these follicles is largely composed of enterocytes, goblet cells and membranous epithelial (M) cells. Each of these types of cell was readily identified by electron microscopy, although caecal patch enterocytes and M cells were morphologically distinct from those of the Peyer's patches. Staining for alkaline phosphatase activity demonstrated that the majority of caecal follicle-associated epithelial cells were alkaline phosphatase-negative, positive cells consisting of a mixture of enterocytes and M cells. In contrast, it has previously been found that Peyer's patch enterocytes are positive for alkaline phosphatase while the M cells are relatively lacking in alkaline phosphatase activity. Lectin histochemistry revealed that surface glycoconjugate expression differs between the caecal and Peyer's patch follicle-associated epithelial cells; in particular, the characteristic staining of Peyer's patch M cells by Ulex europaeus agglutinin 1 was absent on the caecal patch follicle-associated epithelium. These altered surface characteristics indicate that the development of the caecal patch follicle-associated epithelial cells is influenced by the local environment, and these altered properties may be indicative of modified functional roles for the cells at this site.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alkaline Phosphatase / analysis*
  • Animals
  • Carbohydrate Sequence
  • Cecum / chemistry
  • Cecum / cytology*
  • Cecum / enzymology
  • Epithelial Cells
  • Epithelium / chemistry
  • Epithelium / enzymology
  • Female
  • Fluorescein-5-isothiocyanate
  • Glycoconjugates / analysis*
  • Histocytochemistry
  • Intestinal Mucosa / chemistry
  • Intestinal Mucosa / cytology*
  • Intestinal Mucosa / enzymology
  • Lectins / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Peyer's Patches / chemistry
  • Peyer's Patches / cytology*
  • Peyer's Patches / enzymology
  • Staining and Labeling


  • Glycoconjugates
  • Lectins
  • Alkaline Phosphatase
  • Fluorescein-5-isothiocyanate