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Author Notes:

Corresponding Author: N A Mabbott Email: neil.mabbott@roslin.ed.ac.uk

We thank Simon Cumming, Megan Davey, Bob Fleming, Fraser Laing, and the Pathology Services Group (University of Edinburgh, UK) for excellent technical support, Helen Brown (University of Edinburgh, UK) for statistical advice, and Gaku Nakato (RCAI-RIKEN, Yokohama, Japan) for excellent technical advice and helpful discussion.

A.K. is supported by a Japan Society for the Promotion of Science Fellowship for Research Abroad and natural sciences grant funding from the Mitsubishi Foundation.

The authors declared no conflict of interest.


Research Funding:

This work was supported by project (BB/J014672/1) and Institute Strategic Program Grant (BB/J0004332/1) funding from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.


  • Science & Technology
  • Life Sciences & Biomedicine
  • Immunology

The functional maturation of M cells is dramatically reduced in the Peyer's patches of aged mice


Journal Title:

Mucosal Immunology


Volume 6, Number 5


, Pages 1027-1037

Type of Work:

Article | Final Publisher PDF


The transcytosis of antigens across the follicle-associated epithelium (FAE) of Peyer's patches by microfold cells (M cells) is important for the induction of efficient immune responses to mucosal antigens. The mucosal immune response is compromised by ageing, but effects on M cells were unknown. We show that M-cell density in the FAE of aged mice was dramatically reduced. As a consequence, aged Peyer's patches were significantly deficient in their ability to transcytose particulate lumenal antigen across the FAE. Ageing specifically impaired the expression of Spi-B and the downstream functional maturation of M cells. Ageing also dramatically impaired C-C motif chemokine ligand 20 expression by the FAE. As a consequence, fewer B cells were attracted towards the FAE, potentially reducing their ability to promote M-cell maturation. Our study demonstrates that ageing dramatically impedes the functional maturation of M cells, revealing an important ageing-related defect in the mucosal immune system's ability to sample lumenal antigens.

Copyright information:

© 2013 Society for Mucosal Immunology

This is an Open Access work distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommerical-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/).

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