Cytokeratin 18 is a specific marker of bovine intestinal M cell

Tetsuya Hondo, Takashi Kanaya, Ikuro Takakura, Hitoshi Watanabe, Yu Takahashi, Yuya Nagasawa, Shunsuke Terada, Shyuichi Ohwada, Kouichi Watanabe, Haruki Kitazawa, Michael T. Rose, Takahiro Yamaguchi, Hisashi Aso

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Microfold (M) cells in the follicleassociated epithelium (FAE) of Peyer's patches have an important role in mucosal immune responses. A primary difficulty for investigations of bovine M cells is the lack of a specific molecular marker. To identify such a marker, we investigated the expression of several kinds of intermediate filament proteins using calf Peyer's patches. The expression patterns of cytokeratin (CK) 18 in jejunal and ileal FAE were very similar to the localization pattern of M cells recognized by scanning electron microscopy. Mirror sections revealed that jejunal CK18-positive cells had irregular and sparse microvilli, as well as pocket-like structures containing lymphocytes, typical morphological characteristic of M cells. However, CK18-negative cells had regular and dense microvilli on their surface, typical of the morphology of enterocytes. In contrast, CK20 immunoreactivity was detected in almost all villous epithelial cells and CK18-negative cells in the FAE. CK18-positive proliferating transit-amplifying cells in the crypt exchanged CK18 for CK20 above the mouth of the crypt and after moving to the villi; however, CK18-positive M cells in the crypt continued their expression of CK18 during movement to the FAE region. Terminal deoxynucleotidyl-transferase-mediated deoxyuridine- triphosphate-biotin nick-end labeling-positive apoptotic cells were specifically detected at the apical region of villi and FAE in the jejunum and ileum, and all were also stained for CK20. These data indicate that CK18 may be a molecular marker for bovine M cells in FAE and that M cells may transdifferentiate to CK20-positive enterocytes and die by apoptosis in the apex of the FAE.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)442-453
Number of pages12
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Mar


  • Apoptosis
  • Bovine M cell
  • Cytokeratin 18
  • Follicleassociated epithelium
  • Peyer's patch


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