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Murtaugh Lab Mucosal Immunology

Porcine Mucosal Immunity

The intestinal tract is the largest interface between an animal and its environment, and is colonized by up to 400 species of commensal bacteria at densities reaching 1011 organisms/ml of luminal fluid. Gut-associated lymphoid tissue (GALT), including Peyer’s patch, constitutes the largest mass of immune cells in the body and provides specific host defense. Peyer’s patches are discrete areas of organized lymphoid tissue with defined B and T lymphocyte areas and are located in the lamina propria and submucosa of the small intestine. The Peyer’s patch lacks an overlying brush border, mucoid glycocalyx, and hydrolytic enzymes characteristic of absorptive epithelium. Due to its specialized structure, adaptation for antigen sampling, and the induction of immune responses, the jejunal Peyer’s patch-containing mucosa is more susceptible to pathogen invasion and uptake and is the ideal intestinal tissue in which to examine the full range of gut-associated lymphoid tissue immune function.

The Murtaugh Lab is committed to improving gut immunity through the examination of the porcine Peyer's patch and the immediate immune response to pathogen challenge.

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