Transepithelial pathogen uptake into the small intestinal lamina propria

Alexandra Vallon-Eberhard, Limor Landsman, Nir Yogev, Bernard Verrier, Steffen Jung*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The lamina propria that underlies and stabilizes the gut lining epithelium is densely populated with strategically located mononuclear phagocytes. Collectively, these lamina propria macrophages and dendritic cells (DC) are believed to be crucial for tissue homeostasis as well as the innate and adaptive host defense. Lamina propria DC were recently shown to gain direct access to the intestinal lumen by virtue of epithelium-penetrating dendrites. However, the role of these structures in pathogen uptake remains under debate. In this study, we report that entry of a noninvasive model pathogen (Aspergillus fumigatus conidia) into the murine small intestinal lamina propria persists in the absence of either transepithelial dendrites or lamina propria DC and macrophages. Our results suggest the existence of multiple pathogen entry pathways and point at the importance of villus M cells in the uptake of gut lumen Ags. Interestingly, transepithelial dendrites seem altogether absent from the small intestine of BALB/c mice suggesting that the function of lamina propria DC extensions resides in their potential selectivity for luminal Ags, rather than in general uptake or gut homeostasis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2465-2469
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 15 Feb 2006
Externally publishedYes


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