B cells

The ileal Peyer's patch in the gut functions as a primary lymphoid organ necessary for B cell lymphopoiesis. Judged by its cell content, architecture and surface phenotype of its constituent cells (98% slgM" B cells), this organ is analogous to the bursa of Fab-ricius in chickens. The entire B cell repertoire in the sheep is derived by hypermutation from a very limited set of V region germ-line sequences. Development of the B cell repertoire occurs in the ileal Peyer's patch. The immunoglobulin levels of IgG in serum are higher than in man (IgM, 2 mg ml"1; IgGl, 17-20 mg ml"1; IgG2, 8 mg ml-'; IgA, 0.2 mg ml ') and no IgD has yet been described. IgGl, in addition to IgA, is a major immunoglobulin at mucosal surfaces necessary for antimicrobial immunity in the gut and mammary gland. High levels of IgGl are present in the colostrum (IgG, 60mgml_1; IgA, 2mgml~'; IgM, 4 mg mL1) and all transfer of passive antibody to the fetus occurs via the colostrum and milk.

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