The airway antigen sampling system: Respiratory M cells as an alternative gateway for inhaled antigens

Dong Young Kim, Ayuko Sato, Satoshi Fukuyama, Hiroshi Sagara, Takahiro Nagatake, Il Gyu Kong, Kaoru Goda, Tomonori Nochi, Jun Kunisawa, Shintaro Sato, Yoshifumi Yokota, Chul Hee Lee, Hiroshi Kiyono

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

80 Citations (Scopus)


In this study, we demonstrated a new airway Ag sampling site by analyzing tissue sections of the murine nasal passages.We revealed the presence of respiratoryMcells, which had the ability to take up OVA and recombinant Salmonella typhimurium expressing GFP, in the turbinates covered with single-layer epithelium. These M cells were also capable of taking up respiratory pathogen group A Streptococcus after nasal challenge. Inhibitor of DNA binding/differentiation 2 (Id2)-deficient mice, which are deficient in lymphoid tissues, including nasopharynx-associated lymphoid tissue, had a similar frequency of M cell clusters in their nasal epithelia to that of their littermates, Id2+ mice. The titers of Ag-specific Abs were as high in Id2-/- mice as in Id2+/- mice after nasal immunization with recombinant Salmonella-ToxC or group A Streptococcus, indicating that respiratory M cells were capable of sampling inhaled bacterial Ag to initiate an Ag-specific immune response. Taken together, these findings suggest that respiratory M cells act as a nasopharynx-associated lymphoid tissue-independent alternative gateway for Ag sampling and subsequent induction of Ag-specific immune responses in the upper respiratory tract.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4253-4262
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Apr 1
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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