Nasopharynx-associated lymphoid tissue (NALT) is one of the major constituents of the mucosaassociated lymphoid tissue (MALT), and has the ability to induce antigen-specific immune responses. However, the molecular mechanisms responsible for antigen uptake from the nasal cavity into the NALT remain largely unknown. Immunohistochemical analysis showed that CCL9 and CCL20 were co-localized with glycoprotein 2 (GP2) in the epithelium covering NALT, suggesting the existence of M cells in NALT. In analogy with the reduced number of Peyer's patch M cells in CCR6-deficient mice, the number of NALT M cells was drastically decreased in CCR6-deficient mice compared with the wild-type mice. Translocation of nasally administered Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium into NALT via NALT M cells was impaired in CCR6-deficient mice, whereas S. Typhimurium demonstrated consistent co-localization with NALT M cells in wild-type mice. When wild-type mice were nasally administered with an attenuated vaccine strain of S. Typhimurium, the mice were protected from a subsequent challenge with wild-type S. Typhimurium. Antigen-specific fecal and nasal IgA was detected after nasal immunization with the attenuated vaccine strain of S. Typhimurium only in wild-type mice but not in CCR6-deficient mice. Taken together, these observations demonstrate that NALT M cells are important as a first line of defense against infection by enabling activation of the common mucosal immune system (CMIS).
ASJC Scopus subject areas