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To quantitate numbers of immunoglobulin (Ig)-containing cells (IgA, IgG, and IgM) and T cells (CD3+, CD4+, and CD8+) in the colonic mucosa of healthy dogs, and to determine whether mean cell numbers differ among colonic regions.


10 clinically normal young adult mixed-breed dogs.


Endoscopically obtained specimens of ascending, transverse, and descending colonic mucosa were stained specifically for IgA, IgG, and IgM heavy chains and T-cell antigens, CD3+, CD4+, and CD8+, using immunoperoxidase techniques. Morphometric analysis, performed by light microscopy, was used to quantitate numbers in these standardized areas of colonic mucosa. Data analysis allowed determination of mean cell numbers in each colonic region, as well as comparison of mean cell numbers among colonic regions.


The CD3+ and CD8+ T cells were the predominant immune cell types in all colonic regions. In the mucosa, CD3+ T cells were significantly (P < 0.05) more numerous than CD8+ T cells, and CD8+ T cells were significantly (P < 0.05) more numerous than CD4+ T cells. The IgA-containing cells were significantly (P < 0.05) more numerous than IgG-containing cells, whereas IgM-containing cells were least numerous (P < 0.05). Differences in mean cell counts among colonic regions were not significant for Ig-containing cells or T cells.


Mean numbers of immune cells did not differ significantly among colonic regions in healthy dogs, although differences existed in mean populations of T cells and Ig-containing cells. The CD3+ and CD8+ T cells were the most numerous immune cell types in colonic mucosa.

Clinical Relevance

These quantitative data provide a basis for study of alterations in populations of mucosal immune cells and their possible contribution to the pathogenesis of gastrointestinal tract disease. (Am J Vet Res 1998;59:552–556)

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research