Background & aims: Solitary lymphoid structures that may be sites of primary extrathymic T-cell differentiation have been described recently in murine (cryptopatches) and rat (lymphocyte-filled villi) small intestine. This study tests the hypothesis that similar structures occur in human small intestine.
Methods: Normal small intestine was obtained during surgery. Fixed tissue was examined histologically, and frozen sections were examined by an indirect immunoperoxidase technique using a panel of mouse monoclonal antibodies.
Results: A new isolated lymphoid structure, with epithelium resembling follicle-associated epithelium of Peyer's patches, is described as a lymphocyte-filled villus. These structures contain major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II-positive dendritic cells, a majority of memory T cells, a variable B-cell component, and no evidence of immature lymphocytes that express either c-kit or CD1a. Two previously described lymphoid aggregations (isolated lymphoid follicles and submucosal lymphoid aggregations) are components of a single structure. The complete structure contains a B-cell follicle, T cells with mainly memory (CD45RO-positive) phenotype, high endothelial venules, and no detectable population of immature lymphocytes.
Conclusions: A new solitary lymphoid structure is described in the human small intestine. Neither these structures nor isolated lymphoid follicles appear to be similar to solitary primary lymphoid structures in rodent intestine.