Table of Contents Author Guidelines Submit a Manuscript
Developmental Immunology
Volume 6 (1998), Issue 1-2, Pages 13-18

Development and Maintenance of the Gut-Associated Lymphoid Tissue (Galt): the Roles of Enteric Bacteria and Viruses

1Department of Biology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6018, USA
2Department of Biology, University of Pennsylvania, 415 South University Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6018, USA

Received 16 August 1996; Accepted 14 August 1997

Copyright © 1998 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


GALT can be subdivided into several compartments: (a) Peyer's patches (PP); (b) lamina propria (LP); and (c) intraepithelial leukocyte (IEL) spaces. The B-cell follicles of PP are quiescent in neonatal and germ-free (GF) adult mice. Germinal centers (GC), including sIgA+ blasts, appear in the B follicles of formerly GF adult mice about 10-14 days after monoassociation with various gut commensal bacteria. The GC wax and wane over about a 3-week period, although the bacterial colonizers remain in the gut at high density. Neonatal mice, born of conventionally reared (CV), immunocompetent mothers, display GC reactions in PP postweaning, although pups of SCID mothers display precocious GC reactions at about 14 days of life. Normally, gut colonization of neonates with segmented filamentous bacteria (SFB) leads to explosive development of IgA plasmablasts in LP shortly after weaning. Commensal gut bacteria and the immunocompetency of mothers also appears to control the rate of accumulation of primary B cells from “virgin” B cells in neonates.

Enteric reovirus infection by the oral route can cause the activation of CD8+ T cells in the interfollicular regions of PP and the appearance of virus-specific precursor cytotoxic T lymphocytes (pCTL) in the IEL spaces. Such oral stimulation can also lead to “activation” of both CTL and natural killer (NK) cells in the IEL spaces. More normally, colonization of the gut with SFB also leads to similar activations of NK cells and “constitutively” cytotoxic T cells.