Postmortem morphology and viability of human Peyer's Patches in distal ileum: A technical note

Biagio Solarino, Giancarlo Di Vella, Thea Magrone, Felicita Jirillo, Angela Tafaro, Domenico Piscitelli, Michela Casiello, Luigi Amati, Emilio Jirillo, Lucia Tattoli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The intestinal mucosa contains a highly specialized immune system which plays a central role in the induction of immune reactions. In the small bowel, Gut-Associated Lymphoid Tissue (GALT) is organized in lymphoid aggregates which are known as Peyer's Patches (PP). Even though human PP involvement in systemic immunity has been described, little is known about their anatomy and morphology and viability. The aim of this study was to examine PP according to their macroscopic anatomy, distribution and cell viability after death. Specimens from the distal ileum were obtained from 72 serial autopsy cases: PP were identified and, parts of them were analyzed for histological examination. Moreover, viability of recovered PP cells was assessed by the trypan blue exclusion test. Most of the PP (90%) were situated on the antimesenteric border of ileum, and the greatest density of PP occurred in the most distal segment. The number of PP varied with age, with the maximum number observed in 21- to 30-years old cadavers. Histological examination showed their remarkable architectural preservation at different post-mortem intervals (PMI), while the mucosal surface underwent autolysis. In 56% of cases PP cells were still viable, especially at PMI <24 hours after death. These data confirm that human PP are still well preserved in a remarkable percentage of cadavers also several hours after death, and their availability may be helpful in various fields of research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)563-569
Number of pages7
JournalImmunopharmacology and Immunotoxicology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2009


  • Gut-associated lymphoid tissue (GALT)
  • Peyers patches
  • Viability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Pharmacology
  • Toxicology


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