Microbial Stimulation Reverses the Age-Related Decline in M Cells in Aged Mice

David S. Donaldson, Jolinda Pollock, Prerna Vohra, Mark P. Stevens, Neil A. Mabbott*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


Aging has a profound effect on the immune system, termed immunosenescence, resulting in increased incidence and severity of infections and decreased efficacy of vaccinations. We previously showed that immunosurveillance in the intestine, achieved primarily through antigen sampling M cells in the follicle associated epithelium (FAE) of Peyer's patches, was compromised during aging due to a decline in M cell functional maturation. The intestinal microbiota also changes significantly with age, but whether this affects M cell maturation was not known. We show that housing of aged mice on used bedding from young mice, or treatment with bacterial flagellin, were each sufficient to enhance the functional maturation of M cells in Peyer's patches. An understanding of the mechanisms underlying the influence of the intestinal microbiota on M cells has the potential to lead to new methods to enhance the efficacy of oral vaccination in aged individuals.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101147
Issue number6
Early online date26 Jun 2020
Publication statusFirst published - 26 Jun 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Microbiology
  • Microbiome


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