Ligated ileal loops of calves were inoculated with Brucella abortus and examined at 2, 4, 6, 10, and 24 hours post-inoculation. B. abortus was identified by light and electron microscopy using immunoperoxidase and antibody-coated colloidal gold techniques. B. abortus was detected in vesicles, phagolysosomes, and large vacuoles of lymphoepithelial cells. Numbers of intracellular bacteria decreased with time after inoculation. B. abortus was also seen between and below lymphoepithelial cells and free in the dome interstitium and intestinal lymph vessels. Neutrophils and macrophages in both epithelium and lamina propria contained intact or degraded bacteria within phagosomes, phagolysosomes, and multivesicular bodies. These studies showed that (1) transepithelial migration of B. abortus occurred principally by dome lymphoepithelial cell endocytosis and transport, and (2) B. abortus was degraded by macrophages and neutrophils of the gut-associated lymphoid tissue.
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