Gut-associated lymphoid tissues (GALT) serve as key priming sites for intestinal adaptive immune responses. Most of our understanding of GALT function and development arises from studies in mice. However, the diversity, structure and cellular composition of GALT differs markedly between mammalian species and the developmental window in which distinct GALT structures develop in large mammals remains poorly understood. Given the importance of pigs as models of human disease, as well as their role in livestock production, we adapted a recently developed protocol for the isolation of human GALT to assess the diversity, development and immune composition of large intestinal GALT in neonatal and adult pigs. We demonstrate that the large intestine of adult pigs contains two major GALT types; multifollicular submucosal GALT that we term submucosal lymphoid clusters (SLC) which develop prenatally, and as yet undescribed mucosal isolated lymphoid follicles (M-ILF), which arise after birth. Using confocal laser microscopy and flow cytometry, we additionally assess the microanatomy and lymphocyte composition of SLC and M-ILF, compare them to jejunal Peyer's patches (PP), and describe the maturation of these structures. Collectively, our results provide a deeper understanding of the diversity and development of GALT within the porcine large intestine.
- Gut-associated lymphoid tissue
- Immune development
- Isolated lymphoid follicles