Morphogenesis and differentiation of organs is required for subsequent functional maturation. The morphological features of Peyer's patches vary among species. In pigs, they develop extensively in the ileum as ileal Peyer's patches (IPPs). However, the role of IPPs in the porcine immune system remains to be elucidated because of a lack of complete understanding of IPP organogenesis. Results of the present study revealed that development of porcine IPPs is initiated prenatally between embryonic days 76 and 91. The process of IPP organogenesis is concomitant with increased transcriptional patterns of CXCL13 and CCL19. IPPs undergo further development postnatally by forming central, marginal, and subepithelial zones. Importantly, a large number of proliferating B cells and apoptotic cells are found in porcine IPPs postnatally, but not prenatally. The expression level of IgM in proliferating B cells depends on the zone in which distinct B cells are separately localized after birth. Specifically, IgM+ cells are predominantly found in the central zone, whereas IgM-/low cells are abundant in the marginal zone. Importantly, the cellular feature of IPPs differs from that of mesenteric lymph nodes (MLNs) where such distinct zones are not formed both prenatally and postnatally. Our findings suggest that IPPs (not MLNs) in postnatal pigs are involved in complementing functions of the primary lymphoid tissue that promotes the differentiation and maturation of B cells.
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