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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Close relationships between the cells of the immune system and the epithelial cells in the rat small intestine.

A possible contribution of the intestinal epithelium to the immune defense system was studied by electron microscopy in the rat small intestine. The cells of the immune system ( CIS) such as lymphocytes, eosinophils and macrophages penetrate the basal lamina into the epithelium and make close relationships with the absorptive cells. At the points of close apposition, the two cell membranes run parallel at a regular distance of about 20 nm. On the other hand, about 5% of the intestinal absorptive cells also penetrate the basal lamina into the lamina propria via their basal protrusions and show a similar close association with CIS. The basal protrusions contain many microfilaments; this indicates that they are structures with a definite function rather than a simple hernia. These findings are discussed with respect to the transport of antigenic molecules and of intercellular communication between CIS and the intestinal epithelium.[1]


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