To explore the requirement for M cells and the Peyer’s patch (PP) in induction of oral tolerance and address the potential in vivo role of intestinal epithelial cells as nonprofessional APCs, we have attempted to induce tolerance in mice with ligated small bowel loops without M cells and Peyer’s patches. A 2-centimeter section of vascularized small bowel was spliced away from the gut without disruption of the mesenteric attachments. We introduced OVA directly into the lumen of the loop prior to footpad immunization. By excising segments of bowel that contain PPs in some mice and segments without patches in others, we could study the necessity of the M cell and the underlying patch versus epithelial cells in induction of mucosal tolerance. We show that OVA-specific T cell proliferation and serum antibody responses are reduced in mice that have previously been given OVA both in PP-containing loops and in loops without patches. Furthermore, both high- and low-dose tolerance could be induced in the absence of PPs. Low-dose tolerance is associated with bystander suppression and requires IL-10, which indicates active suppression and the induction of regulatory cells. These data suggest that there is a critical role for components of the mucosal immune system other than PPs in antigen sampling and induction of oral tolerance.
Thomas A. Kraus, Jens Brimnes, Christine Muong, Jian-Hua Liu, Thomas M. Moran, Kelly A. Tappenden, Peter Boros, Lloyd Mayer