Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science


Biological Sciences

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


Membranous (M) cells of the dome epithelium of ileal Peyer's patches have been shown to serve an antigen uptake function for mucosa associated lymphoid tissue. Hypergammaglobulinemia is a frequent accompaniment of chronic alcoholism in humans and the elevated antibody titers have been shown to be due in part to bacterial and dietary proteins. This study was conducted to demonstrate the morphological changes induced by chronic ethanol exposure in the ileal M cells in the rat.

Chronic ingestion of ethanol produces marked changes in the ultrastructure of M cells. All experimental animals showed distinct mitochondrial swelling with loss of matrix density, dilation of the endoplasmic reticulum, and cytoplasmic vacuolization. It is also evident that adherens type junctions of the lateral plasma membrane are disrupted. The ethanol content of both serum and chyme samples were similar, consequently a systemic mechanism is implicated for the changes observed. A recovery group showed no significant changes in M cell ultrastructure after 15 days without ethanol.