Exp Mol Med.  2014 Mar;46(3):e85. 10.1038/emm.2013.165.

Antigen targeting to M cells for enhancing the efficacy of mucosal vaccines

  • 1Department of Molecular Biology, Institute for Molecular Biology and Genetics, Chonbuk National University, Jeonju, Korea. yongsuk@jbnu.ac.kr
  • 2Department of Bioactive Material Sciences, Research Center of Bioactive Materials, Chonbuk National University, Jeonju, Korea.


Vaccination is one of the most successful applications of immunology and for a long time has depended on parenteral administration protocols. However, recent studies have pointed to the promise of mucosal vaccination because of its ease, economy and efficiency in inducing an immune response not only systemically, but also in the mucosal compartment where many pathogenic infections are initiated. However, successful mucosal vaccination requires the help of an adjuvant for the efficient delivery of vaccine material into the mucosa and the breaking of the tolerogenic environment, especially in oral mucosal immunization. Given that M cells are the main gateway to take up luminal antigens and initiate antigen-specific immune responses, understanding the role and characteristics of M cells is crucial for the development of successful mucosal vaccines. Especially, particular interest has been focused on the regulation of the tolerogenic mucosal microenvironment and the introduction of the luminal antigen into the lymphoid organ by exploiting the molecules of M cells. Here, we review the characteristics of M cells and the immune regulatory factors in mucosa that can be exploited for mucosal vaccine delivery and mucosal immune regulation.


immunity; M cell; vaccine

MeSH Terms

Administration, Oral
Antigens, Bacterial/*immunology
Antigens, Viral/*immunology
Bacterial Vaccines/administration & dosage/*immunology
Immunity, Mucosal
Intestinal Mucosa/cytology/*immunology
Peyer's Patches/cytology/*immunology
Viral Vaccines/administration & dosage/*immunology
Antigens, Bacterial
Antigens, Viral
Bacterial Vaccines
Viral Vaccines
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