FIGURE 2 | Mechanisms of antigen uptake in the gut.

From the following article:

Acquired and natural memory T cells join forces at the mucosal front line

Hilde Cheroutre & Loui Madakamutil

Nature Reviews Immunology 4, 290-300 (April 2004)

doi:10.1038/nri1333

Acquired and natural memory T cells join forces at the mucosal front line

The epithelial-cell layer is impermeable to passive transport of materials from the lumen, as it is held together firmly by tight junctions. M cells that reside in the apical side of the gut epithelium form entry portals for the active uptake of gut antigen and transport of antigen to professional antigen-presenting cells, in particular dendritic cells (DCs) of the Peyer's patch. The epithelial cells can also mediate active endocytosis, and present processed antigen bound to MHC class I or class II molecules to intraepithelial lymphocytes (IELs)/lamina-propria lymphocytes (LPLs), or transfer processed antigen to mucosal DCs. Mucosal DCs can also directly sample luminal antigen using dendrites that form tight junctions with the neighbouring epithelial cells.

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